Some handy tips for newbie cyclists

In the words of British band the Kaiser Chiefs, "oh my god, I can't believe it!"

Yes, after yet another extended hiatus (almost 6 weeks — a combination of annual leave, yet another upper respiratory tract infection, back pain and sheer bloody laziness) I finally took my poor trusted treadly out of storage and trundled into work this morning. I'd forgotten how exciting it is to battle with London traffic, but by goodness where did all you cyclists come from? Honestly, I've never seen so many two-wheels out and about at 7.45am — normally the influx doesn't hit the roads until after 8am.

I have such mixed feelings about seeing more cyclists on the road. Yes, it's wonderful that so many are ditching motorised vehicles (or the tube), but I can't stand all the idiots who ride their bikes as if the entire world revolves around them.

Here's some handy tips you newbie cyclists might like to take note of:

WATCH WHERE YOU ARE GOING!! OR, MORE IMPORTANTLY, WATCH WHERE OTHER CYCLISTS ARE GOING — DON'T EXPECT THEM TO GET OUT OF YOUR WAY BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T SEE THEM!!

DON'T WEAVE ALL OVER THE ROAD — TRY TO KEEP A STRAIGHT LINE

DON'T CUT OTHER CYCLISTS UP (SEE ABOVE)

USE HAND SIGNALS — WE'RE NOT ALL MIND READERS, YOU KNOW

DON'T OVERTAKE BUSES WHEN THEY HAVE THEIR INDICATORS ON (UNLESS YOU FANCY  BECOMING SOMEONE'S DINNER)

TRY TO TAKE OFF FROM THE TRAFFIC LIGHTS AT A FAST PACE; WHEN YOU PUTTER ALONG IT CAN PUT OTHER CYCLISTS BEHIND YOU IN A DANGEROUS POSITION.

DON'T WEAR YOUR FRIGGIN' iPOD — HOW CAN YOU HEAR WHAT'S APPROACHING IF YOU'VE GOT AMY WINEHOUSE PUMPING INTO YOUR EARS AT 20 DECIBELS?

There. Glad I've got that off my chest.

See you all tomorrow for more tales of commuting across the capital!

Total distance: 12.28 miles | Ride time: 1hr, 13min and 31sec | Average speed: 10.64mph | Top speed: 18.5mph

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Some handy tips for newbie cyclists

  1. Great post. When working at my normal office I ride to work – only 3 miles each way, but I have to battle the school run traffic.
    Sometimes I am ashamed to call myself a cyclist because of the things I see others on bikes doing. No helmets, on the path, no signals, no consideration… you name it.
    This may well become a blog post on my own blog too.

    Like

  2. Good, except your justification for requesting a fast takeoff – if it puts you in danger then that is your fault for relying on a specific action by someone else.

    Like

  3. And Jonathan – why are you ashamed of someone not wearing a helmet!? How weird. Helmet wearing is not mandatory and is purely a personal choice. Not wearing a helmet is perfectly normal and is not reckless.

    Like

  4. I’m blame all the extra cyclists (good as it is to see them) on the Bike to Work Challenge TFL is running this week.
    Are non-newbie cyclists allowed to get away with headphones, if listening to Radio 4 on low volume on their commute? I always have my earphones plugged in so that I can take calls from my girlfriend whilst cycling home; the number of times I’m instructed to stop off and buy some ingredients or essential household goods.
    Newbies should definitely learn to look behind them more frequently and always when moving closer to and away from the kerb or line of parked cars and when cycling amongst heavy cycle traffic.

    Like

  5. Warren, thanks for the welcome back.
    Jonathan, thanks for your comment. I see things that make me ashamed to be a cyclist too. But I’ve learned to ignore them and just behave the best way I can on the bike. The thing is, when you’re a car driver you see far worse behaviour by fellow car drivers, but no one seems to slag off car drivers the same way they slag off cyclists!
    Neil, good point. Although I was thinking of one specific intersection on my commute in which hoardes of double-decker buses move from the right lane into the left lane with scant regard for cyclists in the left lane — so basically you need to move off from the lights as quickly as possibly to get ahead of the buses. Not many new cyclists understand that. You learn from experience though, and you learn from reading the road ahead and the likely scenarios that could unfold.
    As to the helmet “issue” I would never cycle without one, but then I grew up in Australia where helmet wearing is compulsory. Plus, if I’m going to fall off my bike onto hard ground (which I did last May), I’d rather there was something between the bitumen and my soft skull than nothing at all. Obviously, in this country it is a personal choice though…
    Nik, hmmm, isn’t cycling with headphones illegal?? Perhaps someone could clarify this, as I’m not sure… You are very right about cyclists not checking behind them enough…

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s