You’ll be surprised how far you can ride. If you initially can’t manage the full trip, drive part of the way and park then gradually increase the distance as your strength builds. Once you start riding regularly, your fitness and overall health will quickly improve.
Aside from a bike, you’ll need a well fitted helmet and a lock. If you’re riding in dark or low light conditions, you’re legally required to run a white front light and a red rear light, visible at a minimum of 200m. If you need help selecting the right lock or lights, drop into your local bike shop. Get them to also check your bike’s size and seat height. If your bike has been living in the shed for a while, book it in for a service.
Backpacks or courier bags are adequate for small loads, while pannier bags fastened to a rear rack are ideal for bulkier cargo. Where possible, choose waterproof options.
If you live within 10km of your workplace, riding is likely faster than other modes of transport during peak periods. For longer journeys, consider saving time by driving partway then riding. By making your commute a workout, you’ll also save time you might otherwise have spent at the gym.
What to wear
Quick-drying, lightweight clothing that allows for freedom of movement is ideal. Check to see what end of trip facilities, such as lockers and showers, your workplace provides. If yours is a short, relaxed commute you may be able to ride in your work clothes.
Planning your trip
Use online mapping tools, talk to other riders in your area to find out the most bike friendly routes. When planning your route, opt for off-road paths and quiet back streets, or roads with good bike infrastructure and a high volume of riders. Do a trial ride on the weekend, and consider recruiting a friend or colleague to ride with you.
Wear a soft-shell rain jacket (preferably with zippered vents for breathability) and waterproof pants or overpants. Pack a change of clothes and any valuables in a waterproof bag. Ride with extra caution and brake early and slowly as rain can make the roads slippery.
Riding through traffic
Riding in traffic can be daunting, but isn’t a problem providing you exercise the three Cs:
- Common Sense - Abide by the road rules, behave in a predictable manner and make your intentions clear buy using hand signals
- Courtesy - Make eye contact with other riders and motorists to confirm they’ve seen you. Be assertive, without being aggressive
- Caution - Be aware of your surroundings and other road users. Look out for obstacles, such as opening car doors.
Learn how to fix a flat before you get rolling, if you are not sure get your local bike shop to show you and/or carry a puncture repair kit when you ride. Carry a mobile phone and know where the nearest bike shops are along your route in case you get caught out without the right tools. Generally other cyclist will stop to help.
To have fun and enjoy the morning.
For more information on riding safely, go to our cycle safety page.