Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way straight away - wear a helmet and make sure it’s fitted correctly. The helmet should sit level on your head (not tilted back) with the front edge one inch (two fingers) or less above your eyebrows so that your forehead is protected. Also, make sure you get yourself a decent set of lights (white on the front and red on the back). There are loads of different lights on the market but we always recommend USB rechargeable ones - these are easy to charge and it means you don’t have to worry about replacing the batteries. A helmet and lights are non-negotiable. If you want to go one step further and kit yourself out with full reflective gear - we salute you.
Check your brakes
Knowing that your brakes are going to stop you when you need them gives you an incredible amount of confidence when riding a bike. So, if it’s the first time you're riding your bike in a while, make sure you give them a squeeze. You can do this by holding both breaks and rocking the bike forwards and backwards. If the brakes grip, then you’re in decent shape. But if you’re not sure, then you can always book in for a bike service with us and we’ll have you sorted in no time, so you can ride away with complete peace of mind.
Have a look at our stopping distance experiment if you want to see how important this is.
Plan your route
Before setting off, make sure you have a look at where you’re going. Not only do you want to avoid any sudden stops because you’ve missed your turning but you can actively work out a quieter route. Google maps are pretty good for cycling-specific routes and Citymapper has a nifty feature that specifically allows you to pick quieter routes. They may take slightly longer but they’re much safer, plus you get the added benefit that these routes tend to have much less air pollution.
If you don’t know the area very well and the route is too long to remember, a mobile phone holder on the handlebars can help you navigate. Be careful with when you’re checking this as you don’t want to be distracted from the road. Happy exploring!