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Get on your Bike

We ask the experts to bust six of the biggest excuses we make when it comes to cycling our commute.
Cycling can max our fitness levels, cut our risk of heart disease in half and it makes us happier commuters (according to the New York Times). However, only 3% of us are cycling our commute in the UK, compared to 41% of people in the Netherlands and Denmark1. So, why is it that so many of us are reluctant to get on our bikes? We ask Evans Cycles expert Magdalena Schoerner and cycling coach Holly Seear for their advice on beating the excuses. Need more reasons? Check out our Why Cycling is Good for your Body, Wallet and the World infographic.

1 ‘It’s good to hear cycling to work reduces your risk of dying, but that’s not why I do it,’ by Laura Laker, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2017/apr/20/its-good-to-hear-cycling-to-work-reduces-your-risk-of-dying-but-thats-not-why-i-do-it

Excuse 1: “I’m worried about the roads.”
Beat it: Have a practice run

It’s normal to feel nervous, especially if you’ve never ridden in traffic before. “Give yourself plenty of time to practice on low-traffic roads, parks and cycle paths first,” suggest Magdalena. 

The rules of the road are the same as when driving, so make sure to adhere to any traffic symbols, roundabouts or traffic lights. “If you’re not a driver or are feeling really nervous, try a Bikeability course,” Holly advises. “These are one-to-one cycling sessions and are open to any age and ability.” 

On a tight budget? “Contact your local council to see whether they offer cycle training courses,” says Magdalena. “They’re often free!” 

Excuse 2: “I have a terrible sense of direction.”
Beat it: Rely on an app to guide you

“Before setting out on your ride, check out the suitability of your route on Google Maps or cycling-specific app, such as Ride With GPS or Strava,” advises Magdalena. “Or you could invest in a cycling GPS computer, where you can upload pre-set routes.”

For those days when you have time to explore new routes, Magdalena suggests trying Beeline:  “This app acts as a smart compass for your bike and helps you with direction rather than showing a prescribed route.”  

Excuse 3: “The British weather is too unpredictable.”
Beat it: Cover every eventuality with lightweight kit

“When it’s raining, pack a lightweight, foldable waterproof jacket into your pocket or backpack,” says Holly. “Mudguards are a must for when it’s wet, while bike lights and reflective clothing are vital for days with poor visibility, not just the dark. A cycling cap, worn underneath your helmet, will help keep both rain and sun out of your face.”

Don’t want to arrive to work hot and flustered? Look into purchasing an e-bike. “The pedal-assist feature means you don’t need to put in the same energy as a regular bike – great if your commute is lengthy or hilly, or if you regularly have a lot to carry,” suggests Magdalena.

Excuse 4: “I don’t know what to do when something goes wrong.”
Beat it: Take a quick FIX IT class

Knowing how your bike works and what to do when you get a puncture will boost your confidence. “Try a FIX IT maintenance class available at Evans Cycles stores,” says Magdalena. “These group sessions will give you all the skills you need for basic maintenance – from safety checks and sorting a flat tyre to brake adjustment.”

There are also brilliant how-to videos on the British Cycling Insight Zone. And for when the inevitable does happen: “It’s worth carrying a spare inner tube, a couple of tyre levers and a mini pump on all rides, just in case,” suggests Holly.

Excuse 5: “I can’t afford a new bike.”
Beat it: Try a cycle to work scheme (with Vitality’s Evans Cycles discount)

With Vitality and Evans Cycles, purchasing a bike is surprisingly affordable. Evans Cycles’ Ride-to-Work scheme means you can pay off a new bike gradually, plus save as much as 40% off through tax-free salary deductions. “You can also choose key riding essentials such as a helmet, lights or high-vis clothing as part of your package,” says Magdelena.

Ask your workplace for information on their cycle-to-work scheme and don’t forget that Vitality also offers up to 50% cashback at Evans Cycles (depending on your Vitality status).

Excuse 6: “I’m worried my bike will be stolen.”
Beat it: Opt for double security

Locking your bike is a must – in the UK most insurance companies will require that your bike is secured with a silver or gold-rated Sold Secure lock (which means that it’s independently security tested). “If you’re locking your bike in a public place, it’s worth using two different locks to make life more difficult for thieves,” advises Holly. “Ensure the frame is locked to an immovable post or rack. A cable or secondary locks can be used to secure wheels and saddle, too.”

Talk to your workplace about secure cycle parking and see if space can be allocated somewhere in the building. For the ultimate peace of mind, Evans Cycles offer bicycle insurance, which covers theft and accidental damage.

Find out more about the Vitality discount at Evans Cycles.