Getting you out into the fresh air, making you use your legs more, and generally increasing your well-being.
This is exactly what Ikea had in mind when it gave their 12,400 US employees a bike each this Christmas. They reasoned:
We hope this bike will be taken in the spirit of the season while supporting a healthy lifestyle and everyday sustainable transport.
2. Get the right bike. Take a knowledgeable friend with you and make sure the bike ‘fits’ you. Don’t allow yourself to be pressurised into an expensive buy. There are now second hand bike shops in many localities that have a good reputation to maintain and are always there if anything should go wrong.
3. Not exactly winter cycling gear, but make sure your bike is fitted with a mudguard. These can be fitted quite easily and save a lot of splash.
4. Get yourself a good waterproof jacket and make sure it covers your bottom for sensible winter cycling gear. Aim to keep as dry as possible - this is one point that seems to be forgotten when choosing winter cycling gear.
5. Stating the obvious – cycling is so much cheaper than driving and for short journeys wins hands down in the expenses race and the time aspect.
6. For a longer route, take the time to plan your route/journey. Cycle Route Planner is a good starting point.
7. Whether you use your bike for short or long journeys you will always have things to carry. Avoid a rucksack as this will cause a sweaty back. Try panniers on the back wheels, or an old-fashioned basket at the front. A satchel is another solution slung over one shoulder.
8. Everyone needs to keep safe. Make sure you cycle in a position on the road where other road users can see you. Don’t hug the kerb which is a mistake nervous cyclists often make. A lorry driver needs to see you in his mirrors. Some lorries have the sign on the back to this effect. Never go up on the inside of a lorry. If you are sitting at a junction and need to turn left, they may hit you. Learn to think ahead and anticipate situations.
9. One of the facts of life in owning a bike is – it may get stolen. (Boris Johnson - Mayor of London knows all about this.) Outside stations or cinemas are ‘danger’ spots. Take the trouble to go 100 yards down the road and lock your bike outside a restaurant or shop. Spend about 10 percent of the cost of your bike on an efficient locking device. Also, make sure your bike is insured.
10. Cycling will get you out in the fresh air, give you a firm bottom and firm thighs.
There is the theory that you will end up with 'thunder thighs' but you will need to cycle around 4/500 miles per week to achieve this. So relax and enjoy the ride.
11. Yes, you will need the initial outlay/expenditure on your winter cycling gear, but you will save on parking fees, petrol etc. Even if you do not use your cycle for the whole of the journey i.e. just riding to the nearest railway station, your savings will be considerable and you will probably feel much healthier.
12. There are apparently two schools of thought when it comes to the subject of cycling helmets. It is thought that some drivers get closer to cyclists who are wearing a helmet than they do to bare-headed riders because these riders without a helmet are seen as less experienced. A difficult call to make.
Take your opportunity,
and voice your views on this subject.
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