Cycling is one of the best forms of exercise a person can do, it’s also a great way to get out the house and have a bit of fun. The benefits of riding a bike are many, not least reducing your carbon footprint if you opt to cycle to work – but so many are still unsure about whether life on a bike would be suitable for them. We’re here to ease those fears, with a useful guide to help answer those frequently asked questions we hear so much from potential wannabe cyclists.
Do we need to wear helmets?
Strictly speaking, UK law doesn’t require cyclists to wear a helmet on their bikes – but you’d be a fool not to. As safe as cycling usually is, there is always the chance of an accident and you could do serious damage to yourself if you aren’t wearing a helmet. Think of it like a car, if not wearing your seatbelt wasn’t illegal would you stop wearing it? That extra bit of protection really goes a long way.
Do I need/should I get insurance?
Just like you don’t need to pay road tax on a bike, you are also welcome to not bother with any insurance. Though, insurance certainly wouldn’t go amiss if you’ve spent a pretty penny on your bike – it’s always useful to be covered for any unfortunate eventuality (like theft) that may befall you.
Is cycling an expensive hobby?
It’s as expensive as you want it to be. Top-of-the-range bikes will tend to be on the pricier side, but beginner cyclists shouldn’t be buying these from the get-go anyway. Most of the time you can grab yourself a rideable second-hand bike either online or at a garage sale for relatively cheap. For the more decent models you could always take advantage of some bike sales?
What do I do if I get a flat tyre?
Pump it up. There’s no quick wins here I’m afraid so if you’re caught with a flat and you’re too far from home to simply walk it back then you’re going to have to get your hands dirty. Luckily, it’s easy to repair a tyre and plenty of cycling shops sell repair kits with little pamphlets inside on how to go about it.
Am I allowed to ride on the roads?
This is a common question and I can’t quite figure out why – perhaps it’s because you always seem to hear bitter motorists grumbling that cyclists have no right to be on the roads with cars. Contrary to the belief of a few grumpy old men, bikes have just as much of a right to be on the roads as cars. In the UK, it is illegal to cycle on the pavement, so don’t ever let anybody tell you that you belong anywhere but the road on your bike!
What’s the best advice you can give me?
Be predictable. If other motorists and cyclists can predict what you’re doing you will be far less likely to be caught up in any accidents. Always use hand signals to show your turns, don’t ride erratically and always keep your focus on yourself and the road ahead. Safety and cycling go hand in hand.