New Cyclists


If you’re new to cycling in London, here are some tips to make life easier.

Routes
You can get a free map of cycle routes in your area either online or by calling 0343 222 1234. These show quieter roads, off-road tracks, and cycle shops. Great for finding your way around.

Training
We highly recommend Ealing Council's cycle training. It's free and you get two hours of tuition. Even experienced cyclists will learn something new. To find out more, call 020 8825 5771, visit the council's cycling page  or book it here.  

Storage
Keep your bike as near to your front door as possible. Lock it to an immovable object if entrances are shared, but don't block access for others. Locked away in a back shed is not ideal - by the time you get it out you could be half-way to the shops. Many people are now installing bike lockers in their front gardens.

Commuting
On the first day allow twice as long as you expect. Although experienced cyclists average about 10 mph -  compared to 5 mph for buses in the rush hour, and 7 mph for cars - don't expect to do this on your first day. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for every mile. This will give you time to take it easy, look for short cuts, and still get to work on time. By the end of the first week, your journey time should be about half that of the first day.

Clothing
If you cycle at a moderate pace you can wear your everyday clothes without fear of breaking out in a sweat. Bicycles are efficient; for the same energy you would use walking you will travel faster and the breeze will cool you down. If you find yourself warming up, undo zips or remove an outer layer of clothing.

Parking
Park your bike in a well-lit, busy spot. Always lock it to something immovable such as a lamp-post or, better still, a bike rack. Don't use thin cable locks; thieves can cut through them in seconds. Thick U-locks are better. Make sure you lock the frame - if you only lock a wheel, that's all the thief will leave you. If leaving your bike for any length of time, lock both wheels. Be aware that thieves can lift a bike and its lock over the short posts used for no parking signs. Don't leave your bicycle outside at night unless you absolutely have to. 

Sharing the Road
Breaking the rules of the road gives cyclists a bad name and makes it harder for us to persuade politicians to improve cycle facilities. Please observe the Highway Code. In particular watch out for pedestrians — you can hurt them, and yourself, in a collision. Leave plenty of space when passing parked cars to allow for people unexpectedly opening doors.

Lights
Think about your return journey before you set out, and take lights if you might be coming back in the dark. Don't leave lights on your bicycle when you park; they are easily stolen. 

Get insured 
The London Cycling Campaign offers free third-party insurance for members. For details visit the LCC web site