My five tips for your 2016 cycle campaign:
If you’re about to buy a bike and start riding whether it be to work for or fitness don’t worry about the weight too much, build the leg strength now and that next bike upgrade will see massive speed and smile gains! It’s kind of like a bike YTS, we all started on a rubbish or mediocre bike, even the pro’s so bide your time and learn the craft on a solid stable machine.
If you’re commuting DON’T ride clip in’s there really is no point you’ll spend as much time messing around clipping out and in at junctions! I still debate using clip in’s for the commute. You can buy pedals with clip in on one side and flats on the other if you must give it go. And if you do, break steady and early for stopping and clip out with plenty of time! Hitting the deck clipped in hurts your pride far far more that your body!
RIDING ON THE DROPS! A Pet hate, I see so many new riders in the city and out and about riding on the drops and bouncing around struggling and fighting with the bike. Stay up on the hoods and after a few months if you must, find a quiet park to practise moving from hoods to drops and back over and over.
Gear, it’s tough this time of year sticking to a cycle commute so to help keep that promise to yourself invest in the warm winter gear even on warm days that wind chill can really hit you! And now’s the time to buy, with the January sales in full force. OH, I should add lights too, yes lights. I use them day and night being seen is no joke. Always carry them and buy USB rechargeable ones so you never get caught short.
Butt Butter, WHO KNEW! I was told about these magical products 700 miles in to a 900 mile cycle trip once the arse-biscuits had already set it, I didn’t have time to find a bike shop to get some but have been told they work wonders for the more shall we say delicate areas. Chaffing’s not cool in anyone’s book! AND, use god damn padded cycle shorts/leggings too, they seriously help.
Carry spares! There’s nothing nice about being stood on the road side with a puncture with no spares. And eventually the excuse for being late because “I had a puncture and didn’t have spares” does at some point run out…
Keep it simple: A hand pump, if you’re posh get an air cartridge jobie, tire levers, make sure they are tough, if you’re strange (like me) these can be used as spoons too! (or if you’re from up north, just use spoons as tire levers…….) TRUE STORY!
Where was I, oh yes, puncture repair kit, no bike owner should ever go without slightly stuck together fingers. They’re not heavy or take up much space so be sure to include it in your kit.
INNER TUBE, you might think just the repair kit will do. No, hell no, all sorts of witch craft happens once you’ve repaired a tube, the normal rules of life don’t apply. It’s very much belt and braces here people!!
Mini tool thing, yea you know the ones where nothing quite works properly you can never really use it like the real home tools, well, you need one, even if it’s to graze the skin off your knuckles that one time you’ll use it on a freezing cold morning.
Wake up you’re a cyclist we all have to go through this pain, this anguish. And for the record, yes thin surgical gloves for changing inner tubes are helpful. Oil, Grease and brake dust will survive a nuclear zombie apocalypse, still sat on your grips or bar tape..
You might ask, a 7th? Yes last helpful tips. And on a serious note, take a read through the Cycle Highway code, yes whether you have a vehicular licence or not. PLEASE PLEASE don’t buy a bike and go jump straight on public highways. They are dangerous places at the best of times. And lastly, ask at bike shops and find out from the local councils about cycle maintenance courses, sometimes you can get a free course and its worth any cost you might incur in the long run, labour costs and waiting times for repairs could see you off your bikes for a few weeks, and no one needs to be that sad in life!
These all seem pretty simple idea’s but let’s face it with all the will in the world sticking to a new year resolution or even making one without the right equipment to keep you going can be so self-destructive. Don’t set yourself up for failure! I hope to see you out on two wheels full of smiles and happiness!
Ps, yes naming a bike and it being a boy or girl bike is expected of you. And yes we all talk to our bikes too… (looking for a friend here!)