Kathryn King is Road Safety Manager for The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and here she gives her advice and cycle tips
So you’ve decided to cycle from London to Brighton http://www.donnaida.com/blog/tag/jeans-for-genes which is a fantastic challenge and for a wonderful cause of course, but perhaps you’re not sure how to get started. If you’ve already got a bicycle then that is the first step. If not then pop into your local independent bike shop and get some good advice about what kind of bicycle would serve your best for the ride you’re about to embark on. We have a list of local bicycle shops on our website: http://www.bikeminded.org/cycling-essentials/bike-shops-near-you/
Once you’ve got your bicycle, it’s vital you make sure that it is set up correctly for you in order to prevent future injury. Your local bike shop can do this for you, but as a minimum make sure that when you’re seated on your bicycle your leg touching the ground is fully extended and that your leg on the pedal in the bottom position should be only slightly bent.
Getting into cycling on London’s busy streets can be nerve wracking so we’d highly recommend a cycle training session. Most boroughs offer residents or people working in their boroughs free cycle training, and in the Royal Borough we can send a trainer out to a place convenient to you. We can even ask them to ride your route with you to help build your confidence on a route that you’ll be riding regularly. These sessions will help you to ride confident and therefore avoid the common pitfalls for new cyclists. You can book your session by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org As a starter, we always suggest these safety tips:
- Position yourself in a central position in your lane, and always at least a metre away from parked cars to avoid cycling into an open door. This central position allows cars and pedestrians to see you better.
- Always signal before you turn so that the vehicles behind you understand what you’ll be doing.
- Never cycle down the inside of a large vehicle at a junction. Your life is worth more than the two seconds you’ll save yourself by getting to the front of the queue.
If you’ve been travelling by the tube or bus up until you got your bike then you might not know the street system as well as you thought you did. We recommend this website to help your journey planning: http://www.cyclestreets.net/ And of course ask other friends who cycle as they’ll probably know some good short cuts!
Most of all enjoy your rides. There are loads of fun rides you can join this summer to liven up your training, take a look at the rides offered by British Cycling at http://www.goskyride.com/?DCMP=KNC At Bikeminded we’re running a fabulous Alice in Wonderland live theatre bike ride in July, which will take 2&1/2 hours so perfect for your training schedule. We have 2 tickets to give away to Donna Ida customers, or you can book your tickets here: http://www.bikeminded.org/events/bike-tours/
To join up to the Team Donna Ida Summer of Sport London to Brighton Bike Ride Saturday on 25th August visit http://regonline.activeeurope.com/summerofsport