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  • Writer's picturetonygowland

Cycling to work

This is such an obvious thing to do and of course many thousands of people do it every day. However, there are many people who find the roads intimidating and so they stick to their cars.

But there is no need to be driving when you can cycle. An electric bike will take all the really hard work and stress away and make cycling easy and fun even if you are not as fit as you once were.

There are a few simple techniques for staying safe on our busy roads and it's worth taking note of them.

Firstly make sure your bike is safe to ride. Check the brakes, the tyres, tyre pressures and make sure there is nothing loose on the bike.

Check your lights are good and bright and are working properly, we lose count of how many bikes come into the shop with the lights not working because of batteries that haven't been replaced.

Make sure you are wearing bright clothing, you can never be too visible. Dress appropriately for the weather; waterproofs , gloves etc

Now think about your journey. Use your local knowledge and utilise the safer roads, quieter roads and cyclepaths whenever possible even if the journey is a little longer as it's a lot less stressful that sharing an extremely busy road with hundreds of fast moving cars, vans, buses and lorries. You also won't be breathing in all those engine fumes.

You are just as important as any other road user, so hold your place on the road and don’t ride in the gutter. Apart from anything else that’s where the foreign objects are lurking, waiting to pop your inner tubes. So ride about 3 feet or a metre from the curb. Make cars overtake you properly just as they would for any other vehicle. If someone hoots you that’s good, it means they seen you. So keep away from the curb.

At traffic lights or anywhere else that you have to stop never be alongside another vehicle, especially a lorry of van. These vehicles often have very poor vision on their left so they may not see you, and when the lights change they may turn left and collide with you.

This is a very common cause of accidents so I repeat, never stop alongside another vehicle. You should always stop in front or behind them, never alongside.

To stay safe you must be aware of other road users using your judgment you will be able to work out if they are likely to be turning left or right or stopping. Don’t rely on them giving you signals but they will slow down and take a position on the road ready for their maneuver, and by reading this it’s easy to avoid them. Soon it will become second nature to be extra aware, and it will come naturally. There are many inconsiderate car drivers who make life a little harder for cyclists but there are also cyclists who do stupid things as well so be aware of everything around you.

If you intend to make a maneuver, make it very clear using hand signals. If you find it hard to signal with one hand while riding, well its only practice, so find a quiet road and practice. Once you can do it you will feel much safer and more confident.

Riding an electric bike is safer than an ordinary bike for many reasons. They are easier to get started from the traffic light so there is no wobbly start up. They are faster than ordinary bikes and will keep up with busy town traffic and the cars don’t pass you so quickly. Because you have some motor power you feel much more in control. You won’t get tired and exhausted from pedaling and therefore your concentration will be better. Be aware though that electric bikes can catch car drivers out as they don't expect a bike to be traveling as quickly especially up hills so just keep your wits about you in that respect too.

If you heed this advice and give yourself plenty of time to get to work, you will arrive knowing that before you sit at your desk all day and scoff doughnuts during your tea breaks you have at least expended some energy getting there and returning home. And on an electric bike you won't be as sweaty and disheveled as you would be if you were grinding away on a normal bike for miles.

Finally, just think of the savings in petrol and parking, do a quick calculation on the cost of your car commute and you may be surprised how much it is costing you.

If you haven’t tried an electric bike you really should, you will be quite surprised at just how good they are and Electric Bike World sell the finest electric bikes available. So come and try them in our safe traffic free testing area.

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