Cycling to work is easy and often faster than other transport methods. There is no need to stress yourself before you’ve even got to work. Our friends at Condor Cycles give us seven ways to help you glide through your commute.
There are plenty of safety benefits to wearing a helmet. But off the bike, helmets are really impractical and take up loads of space in a bag or desk drawer, not to mention causing sweaty hat hair. Swedish company, Hovding, created the Airbag Helmet. Independently tested to be 3 times safer than a traditional helmet, it fits around your neck like a scarf, and the sensor sets off the airbag around your head if it detects the rider falling.
No one likes to stop for a puncture. Adding a set of puncture-resistant tyres to your bike is one way you can stop your journey from being interrupted. The tyres are made of thicker rubber and feature a layer of kevlar to stop glass and nails getting through.
Wearing lycra shorts can look a bit out of place if you stop to grab a takeaway or are heading for a picnic in the park. Cycling-specific chinos are the answer. The seams are in different places to avoid rubbing and tearing; the fabric has elastane woven into the cotton to make riding easier; and if you turn up the trouser leg, there is additional reflective piping for more visibility.
Keep your tyres pumped up, it’s an obvious one but it makes a huge difference. Bike shops usually have free pumps you can use to top up the air in your tyres. They can advise you how much air to put in, which is 80–100 psi.
Running your tyres at the right pressure actually adds more grip, less friction with the road for easier pedalling, plus it helps extend the life of the tyre and reduce punctures. Check your tyres every two weeks, you should only just be able to squeeze them.
Mudguards – clip on or extended.
Mudguards are a lifesaver, even if you don’t mind a bit of drizzle on your back. Mudguards will keep all dirty water spray from the front and rear wheels away from you, your clothes, and the components of your bike. No longer will you have to skirt round puddles and worry about a dirty line sprayed up your back.
There are lots of options available, depending on whether your frame has dedicated mudguard mounts or not.
Bar bag, seat pack or basket.
Riding with a rucksack can often leave you with a sweaty back, and — if you are carrying a heavy lock, laptop, and a ton of other kit — very uncomfortable. Switch a rucksack for a basket, front rack, or oversized seat pack. A basket fits onto most flat handlebars using an allen key. The oversized seat pack adjusts using velcro. The material is waterproof and you can roll it up when you’re not using it.
Tune up your brakes.
Are you using all your energy to squeeze the life out of your brakes, only to just about come to a stop?
The brake cable will stretch over time, and if you’ve dug a bike out of a shed could also be rusty. A local bike shop can adjust the brake cable back into position in a few minutes, and confident stopping will be at your fingertips once more.