During these unprecedented times, it’s perhaps more important than ever to do the things that keep us healthy and well. Government guidelines state that unlimited exercise is allowed each day, alone or with members of your household, as long as you maintain a safe distance of at least 2 meters from others. This makes cycling the perfect activity.
If you’re returning to cycling after a lay-off, here are five tips for safe solitary cycling from the experts at Halfords.
Before hitting the road, spend some time ensuring that your bike is in tip-top condition and in full working order. If you’re working on your bike for the first time or need a quick refresher, check out our Halfords cycling how-to-guides. They’re packed full of straightforward, common-sense advice to help you get your bike running smoothly and safely covering all the basics.
Check the tyres, gears, wheel and frame. Give everything a thorough clean and lubricate all moving parts. If your bike has been left for a prolonged period, consider replacing the tyres and tubes too.
2. Be self-sufficient
If you’re cycling alone, you’ll need to be self-sufficient, so stock up on the essentials that you need to cycle safely. It doesn’t matter whether you’re riding on-road or off-road, pack a puncture repair kit or spare tube, pump, tools and tyre-levers.
Make sure you’re carrying a water bottle and some snacks. A banana or fruit bar is perfect for shorter rides.
And don’t forget your fully-charged up mobile phone!
3. Stay seen
A set of front and rear lights are a wise investment for any cyclist. They’re a legal requirement if you’re cycling when it’s dark, but riders of all kinds are running daytime lights too. If you need some advice, start with our expert guide to bike lights.
Make sure you fit a bell too. They may not be cool, but they are big and clever, and are required by the law if you’re using cycle paths or shared-use paths.
4. Layer up
Having the right cycling gear is crucial whenever and wherever you’re riding. It’s essential that you’re seen, so choose cycle-clothing with reflective panels or strips. A hi-vis jacket or tabard is perfect.
It’s still spring, so layer up. Start with a thermal base layer that will keep you dry and cosy and build from there. The important thing is to wear clothing that will wick sweat away, not leave damp fabric close to your body.
5. Become a routemaster
When you’re cycling on your own, you should plan a route – and stick to it. Use online maps or GPS systems to sketch out a plan and ensure that you tell someone where you’re going.
When returning to cycling after a lay-off, be realistic about what you can achieve. Build up miles gently rather than attempting massive distances or mammoth climbs before you’re ready.
It’s not really a tip, but even though the streets are, as we can all see, clearer than usual – don’t let your guard down. Stay safe and let someone know where you are going then think about the safety of your bike. Don’t give opportunist thieves a chance and invest in a high-quality lock that will keep your bike safe wherever you leave it.
Finally, enjoy your time outside, clear your mind, enjoy the fresh air and exercise, stay safe and keep a good distance! We’re all in this together.