It’s been a time unlike any other and, if you’re like most people, you have been working from home all or most of the time during COVID-19. When it comes the time to transition back to the office, you might consider riding a bike rather than taking the car. Biking is more eco-friendly than a vehicle, saves money, and it’s a great way to exercise. Knowing how to stay safe and comfortable while cycling to work can make all the difference. Here are some top tips to keep in mind.
1. Consider an electric bike
If the main thing putting you off from cycling to work is the idea of turning up at your workplace sweaty and tired, you might want to consider investing in an electric bike. These battery-powered bikes can be set to do a lot of the work for you. Get past the traffic and to your workplace in no time, without the need to seriously physically exert yourself.
2. Keep your head safe
A big part of safely cycling to work is protecting your head before you even touch the pedals. In the U.S, around 60% of all cycling-related deaths are due to head injuries. Sadly, quite a lot of fatalities and injuries could have been completely avoided with a good helmet.
Since your cycling helmet could save your life, it’s one of the most important investments that you’ll make when you decide to start cycling to work. Learning how to crash on a bike safely can also help minimize your chance of injury.
3. Get bicycle insurance
As cycling becomes more popular, protect yourself financially if you are involved in a collision or if your bicycle is stolen. Doing so is always a wise idea. Opt for a good bike insurance policy that will pay out if you lose your bike as the result of theft or accident, or if your bike is damaged in any way.
Also, opt for insurance that will cover any medical bills you face if you get injured. Velosurance is designed specifically for cyclists with policies to provide peace of mind. Additionally, they offer a lot of handy information on their blog, such as how to crash on a bike. Get safety tips to help protect yourself from injury if you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation.
4. Set up your bike right when cycling to work
If you plan to ride your bike to work every day, it makes sense to take it to a professional who can ensure a proper bike fit for your body. The right fit will make riding the bicycle an easier and more comfortable experience.
A good fit can even reduce your risk of falling off and other accidents. Plus, when your bike is fitted for you, you’re less likely to be sore and stiff after riding it.
5. Avoid wearing headphones
Whether you’re getting directions through a sat-nav app on your phone or listening to music, it’s best to get a specially-designed bike setup rather than using headphones. Riding your bike with headphones might not seem like such a big deal at first, but it could prevent you from hearing what’s going on around you. It might contribute to a collision or other accident, going against cycling safety measures.
6. Use the gears correctly
Learn how to properly use the bicycle gears to make sure that you have the most comfortable experience possible and don’t put any unnecessary stress on either the bike or your muscles. Pedaling in high gears for prolonged periods of time will put a lot of unneeded stress on your knees, for example, if you’re not changing gears right.
So, remember to switch down to lower gears as soon as a higher gear is not needed anymore. When pedaling uphill, the lower the gear, the better. You can attach a bicycle power meter to determine the effort and power you expend when you cycle different terrains. Next time you need to write uphill, you can judge how much power you need to overcome the terrain.
7. Cycling to work? Make sure you know the rules
Understanding road rules for cyclists is an important step to take before you start riding your bike to work. When you’re on a bicycle, you have much less protection around you compared to being in a car. That puts you in a more vulnerable position than many other road users.
Thus, having a solid understanding of road rules can help keep you safe. That is especially true in cases where there are no designated cycle paths on the road.
8. Stay alert
Finally, wherever you are going on your bicycle, it’s important to stay alert and aware of everything that’s going on around you. Especially if you are riding in traffic.
Being aware of any obstacles on the road well ahead of time is key to safe riding, just as it is for vehicle drivers. Small bumps and obstacles in the road can cause massive damage to your bike and injury to yourself if you don’t notice them well in advance and slow down.
Conclusions on cycling safely to work
Cycling rather than driving to work has plenty of benefits, including saving money, staying fit, and doing your bit for the environment. If you plan to ride your bike on the roads and close to traffic, it’s important to take the steps needed to keep yourself and your bike safe before you even reach the road.
Top photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels