It seems like the public are getting used to being outside more, with many Brits swapping their cars for bikes to get to work, and even more taking bikes into the city to try and cut down the time they normally spend walking from the station to their offices. However, it’s not as easy as jumping on and riding off into the sunset with your bike. Nowadays there are certain rules and regulations that come with cycling to work, especially in cities like London. So, here are some top tips when it comes to riding your bike to work.
Do your research before you buy
The Government encourages riding your bike to work with the Cycle to Work Scheme 1999 where participating companies basically buy the bike for you and you pay it off in a ‘hire purchase’ type fashion out of gross salary, thus saving on average 25-30% on the purchase of a new bike. The best part about it is that in terms of pricing, there is no cycle to work scheme limit anymore, even electric bikes are covered under it. This means that changing from driving to cycling to work has never been easier and cheaper.
Wear a Helmet
Especially in cities like London and Manchester, to say the roads are manic is a bit of an understatement. With over 2 and a half million cars registered in London and many more visiting, you are always going to encounter drivers while on your bike. This is why it is imperative that you are protected. According to Helmets.org, almost three-quarters of fatal crashes involve a head injury, with 97% of the people who subsequently die not wearing a helmet. This is why our first tip for riding your bike to work safely is to invest in a good helmet that can well protect you if you fall off.
When you are on your bike it is helpful to have a route planned out so by using a route planner you can not only save a lot of time but also help you focus on the road ahead and not about your journey. You can use specific cycle route planners such as the one made by cyclinguk.org, but we recommend just using Google maps on your phone. It has a built in bike feature showing you the route with the most bike lanes but also can show real-time traffic wherever you are, allowing you to adjust your course if necessary.
Be Prepared to Sweat
Cycling isn’t a sweat-free thing so be prepared (especially on summer rides to work) to sweat. We recommend that you are comfortable to cycle in such as a tracksuit or cyclewear if you have some. Then, when you arrive at your place of work, change there. Especially in London and Manchester, but also around the UK, most offices provide changing facilities and showers so you can ride in and then freshen up when you arrive. Do leave yourself enough time to do this though.
Light up the Streets
In the UK, it is a legal requirement to have a light installed on your bike and have it illuminated in some parts of the year. They are not that expensive either, you can get LED bike lights for under £10 and therefore if you finish work a little bit later than planned and it’s dark, you have a way to clearly see ahead of you and for other drivers on the road to clearly see you too.
Lock it up
Unfortunately, it is common that bikes are stolen in the UK, with London being especially bad with over 6,000 bikes per 100,000 residents being stolen yearly according cycling insurer Bikmo. The best way to protect your bike is by purchasing a bike lock. This will protect your bike from theft and make sure that at the end of the day, it is still there ready for you to ride home.
Last, but arguably the most important tip we have, is to get your bike insured. We have a comparison table of different providers for bike insurance not just based on the price of cover, but also based on the reviews of customers. They provide comparison based on many factors such as claims success and quality of service so you get the right cover for you.
If you can’t afford insurance on your new bike, unfortunately your employer won’t pay for the insurance. But, if you purchase a bike under the cycle to work scheme you can receive a discount on your bike insurance from Bikmo (who have a CBR score of 9.3) as well as getting your first 14 days free of charge.
There is no doubt as a nation we have seen a resurgence of people taking up cycling whether its for health reasons, maybe reducing your carbon footprint etc., no matter what the reason the riders safety is of paramount importance and secondly with bikes becoming a bigger investment than ever before, having great quality protection for your bike helps provide sustainability for a long term enjoyment of this great mode of transport.
Mark Gordon is chief executive officer of Compare by Review
Further reading: Higher taxes for Covid-19 expenditure on the cards