With the ever increasing price of petrol, rising motor vehicle registrations and insurance that just keeps going through the roof, maybe it is time we started to get back on the old deadly treadle otherwise known as a push bike. If you are like me though, the thought of having to cycle along some busy road in peak hour breathing in exhaust fumes from buses, trucks and cars doesn't sound too exciting and is enough to put anyone off this idea.
However, you might find you can get on a bike outside of peak times or maybe your town or city provides cycle paths / bike lanes for you to ride along to get you where you want to go. It is a great idea to get back into the saddle, pedaling along. Your purse / wallet will love you.
Here are some ideas you get you into the saddle and riding along.
1. Dig your old bike out of the garage - where has that bike been put? It might have been a while since you rode your bike so it might take a while to find where you have stashed it.
2. If you don't have a bike, check your local trading post / EBay / 2nd hand store for a good quality 2nd hand bike. Bikes are items that people often get quite excited about and they spend a lot of money on them, but then the novelty wears off and the bike sits in the garage unused until someone decides to sell it off at a fraction of the original cost.
3. Give your bike the once over and check it for wear and tear. Ensure the bike is 'road worthy' and safe. Also, ensure your bike is adjusted correctly to your height / size so that you can ride it comfortably.
4. Consider having your bike serviced at the local bike shop. That way you can be sure it is safe and won't let you down. There would be nothing worse than breaking down on your bike and having to push the bike home / abandoning it.
5. Check your helmet to ensure it complies with the latest safety standards. A good fitting helmet is essential for all bike riders.
6. Set yourself and your bike up so that your safety is paramount. This will include but isn't limited to front and rear lights, warning bell / horn, flashing lights, protective clothing, bright coloured clothing, reflective strips on your helmet / backpack / clothes / panniers etc. You must ensure people can easily see you whilst on your bike particularly if riding at night. Remember, you might not intend to ride at night, but all you need is to get held up somewhere or to have a puncture and you could find yourself riding home in the dark - be prepared!
7. Find some comfortable clothing and shoes to wear whilst riding. This is very important as you will soon be put off your bike if you become uncomfortable during your ride. Your clothing and shoes should also be sensible items that offer you protection:
o from the weather (sun / rain)
o in the event of accidents
o from getting caught up in the bike wheels / chains
8. Check your tool kit and ensure you carry sufficient items to do a quick fix it on the side of the road if you need to. You should consider a spare tube, patch kit, tyre levers, pump, portable tool box containing wrenches, screwdrivers etc.
9. Carry a bicycle lock so that you can leave your bike whilst going places. Check out where it is safe to leave your bike. Remember a lot of places provide suitable bicycle racks.
10. Ensure you carry sufficient supplies for your trip. This might include food, water, snacks, sunscreen, jumper, rain jacket, map etc. You should also carry your mobile phone and money in case of emergencies.
11. If you have any health issues / medical problems or if you are unsure if it is safe for you to ride for any reason, ensure you check with your doctor / health professional before riding off into the sunset.
12. If you are going to ride on the road, you must ensure you know the rules of the road and can confidently obey them. Ensure you teach your children these also if you are riding with them on / near roads.
13. Find out where your local cycle paths are and which roads have bicycle lanes on them. This can help you plan your routes and potentially avoid you having to ride on main roads.
14. Ensure you ride where you feel safe and tell someone where you are going. You might like to carry a personal alarm in case of any unforeseen event taking place.
I hope this has given you some motivation to get on a push bike and start pedaling your local area. Most car travel is for destinations of less than 10km. This distance can be ridden in under 30 minutes. Next time you reach for the car keys think twice and grab the bike helmet instead.
Mark Lander is experienced internet marketing consultant and writes articles on Bike Shop Worcester Park, Cycle Shop, Cycle Shop Worcester Park, Cycle shop Kingston Upon Thames, Cycle Shop Ewell, Cycle Scheme, Cycle To Work, Bike accessories, Bike helmet etc.
Saving Money Tips - Get on a Push Bike