7 Tips for Enjoyable and Safe Cycle Commuting

cycling to work safely
Commuting by bicycle is a fantastic way to reduce stress, kick-start your metabolism, and counteract a day sat in an office. In 2017, I was labelled the 'UK's Super Commuter' (article link in the Telegraph Newspaper); it was testament to the number of hours and miles I clocked up each year riding to and from the office.

With more than a decade of experience riding a bike to work at various locations around the UK, these are my '7 Tips' for a bicycle commute.

1 – Daytime Running Lights

daytime running lights bicycle
Even in the middle of June there are shadows, morning mist, low sunlight and changing light conditions. All those things can make a cyclist hard to pick out on the road. Invest in some USB chargeable lights with an output that is strong enough to be seen even in bright daylight; your presence on the road will be increased significantly, and you will notice that you have fewer close calls and near passes.

These are my Top 3 Daytime Running Light choices:
  1. Lezyne  (Reviewed here) (Shop here)
  2. Niterider  (Reviewed here) (Shop here)
  3. See.Sense  (Reviewed here) (Shop here)

2 – Listen to Everything

Aftershockz Cycling Headphones
Listening to music whilst you ride can be engaging and motivating, and that might encourage you to ride further, and more frequently. Wearing earbuds when you are riding is incredibly dangerous though; removing that vital sense of awareness that hearing ambient noise provides.

The solution is a pair of headphones like the new Trekz Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones.

Rather than sit inside your ear, the Trekz Titanium sit on your cheek bone and reverberate sound through your bone structure to your ear drum. The result is that your ear channels are left open to normal hearing, whilst you can still listen to your music.

The sound quality is incredibly good, and the new lighter Trekz Titanium model is even more comfortable than the Aftershokz Bluez 2 that I previously reviewed here on the blog.

If you want to listen to music, the radio, or a podcast on your commute, these are by far the safest choice.

3 – Wear Hi-Vis Riding Accessories

High Visibility Cycle Clothing Accessories
In the above photo, I purposefully wore dark coloured kit to show how much high visibility accessories can 'pop' on your outfit and increase your road presence. Your hands, head, and heels are some of the most visible moving parts.

Investing in a few accessories such as high visibility gloves, buffs, overshoes, and caps will allow you to be seen more prominently in the dark coloured kit that often features in a cyclist's wardrobe.

GripGrab have a great range of Hi-Vis accessories for cyclists

4 – Use Waterproof Luggage

Overboard Waterproof Bag
Take the stress out of transporting your laptop and valuables with you on a commute, and invest in a good waterproof rucksack / backpack or panniers.

For my recommendations, have a look at these links to my past reviews:

5 – Do Not Ride Empty

Cycling Breakfast Fuel - Tim Wiggins
I see a lot of people who ride into work and then eat breakfast when they arrive—I do not recommend that.

When you are asleep, you are effectively starving your body for eight hours. When you wake up, the best thing to do to promote energy and recovery, as well as alertness, is to have something to eat.

If you ride fasted on a frequent basis then you are constantly depleting your glycogen stores below their natural levels, which means you are more likely to get post ride hunger pains and 'fridge raider frenzy' when you stop; as well as being less aware whilst you ride. Aim to eat breakfast before you leave.

The same applies to evening commutes: eat something half an hour before you leave so you do not have the tendency to over-eat at dinner or feel tired on the way home.

6 - Avoid Racing in Town

Cycle Commuting Tim Wiggins
Racing between traffic lights, between bus shelters, over city bridges or through subways can seem like fun. It is, until your head-down effort results in you ploughing into someone or something.

Keep your racing for the open country roads—when you are out of the town or at the weekends. If you need to let off a bit of steam at the end of the day then find a quiet back road and do some uphill sprints...

7 – Enjoy the Ride

Cycle Commuting Tim Wiggins
Most of all, enjoy the ride. Cycling to and from work is great.

Invest in the best bike and kit that you can, so you will be as comfortable and safe as you can be. Very soon you will wonder why you spent so much on cars and fuel and did not jump on a bike earlier.


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