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For short journeys, any bike will do (as long as it fits you)

If you are looking to cycle longer distances on the road think about the type of bike you will want:

  • A folding bike – great if you have limited storage space in your flat or at work.
  • An electric bike – no, it’s not cheating, you still have to pedal for the motor to work. It just means hills are a breeze
  • A ‘road’ bike – think Tour de France – these bikes may not be as comfortable or stable for a beginner as other options, these are made for longer and faster rides.
  • Hybrid/Town bike – these are ideal for commuting and everyday tasks – look out for useful features such as a kickstand, basket and bell.

Before you head out on the open road

  • Check your bike over to make sure it is safe to use (do the brakes/gears work?). Make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure (you will find the correct pressure on the sidewall (side) of your tyres.
  • A small amount of bicycle specific oil on the chain will keep your bike running smoothly. Before applying more, you should clean it thoroughly with bicycle specific degreaser.
  • Practise riding single handed (each hand) as you will need to signal with each arm. Also practise looking over your shoulder as you will need to do this before you set off, to make sure it is safe.
  • To learn to cycle with confidence contact your local council as they may offer free cycle confidence training. Or look for a Bikeability course.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the Highway Code.
  • When you’re riding on the road, remember you are entitled to the same amount of space as a car. Riding two abreast can make it easier and quicker for a car or van to overtake you.
  • When riding alongside parked cars, remember to give a car door’s space between you and the car. This guards against you being knocked off your bike by car doors being opened.
  • When approaching left junctions, beware of vehicles turning left that may cross your path – just because they are not indicating, it doesn’t mean they won’t turn.
  • When cycling near large vans, trucks and buses try to avoid stopping on their inside (left) where they can’t see you. Try and stop ahead of them (turn your head and look them in the eye to make sure they have seen you).
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