family with bikes
family with bikes

Bike sales are surging: The resources you need to cycle confidently and safely

This is how you get the most from your bike, says Sam Wylie-Harris.

Sam Wylie-Harris
Friday 18 June 2021 15:36

If you’ve recently discovered the joy of cycling, you’re not alone.

According to new research from analysts Mintel just under a third of adults are making the most of life on two wheels and around a fifth of all Brits cycle at least once a week. Additionally, 25% of adults who bought a bike in the past year were first-time cyclists or were rediscovering the joy of cycling as a result of the pandemic.

With summer in full swing, there couldn’t be a better time to get in the saddle and make the most of this low impact sport ‘for all’ which is easy to embrace and good for your wellbeing. Especially with so many options out there and a bike for every budget.

Here’s how to get a handle on your new found freedom…

1. Consider the safety of your cycling apparel

Right, so you’re on two wheels and are raring to go, but what about your kit? Ultimately, safety comes first and you need a helmet. Lightweight and comfortable, there’s a style for every type of cycling, whether it’s city, road riding or mountain terrain. But there are also different types of safety certifications and features (such as MIPS, multi-directional impact protection system) to help protect you from different types of impact. Head to the likes of Evans Cycles or Cycle Superstore to help you find the lid that’s right for you.

2. Brush up on your cycling skills and awareness

Pedalling out for the first time in a while can be a little nervy, especially if you’re not used to the traffic environment or road conditions. We are cycling UK  offer handy advice and video guides on road safety awareness, from basic road positioning and brake sense, to observation and anticipation. Elsewhere, Irishcycle com has lots of top tips on navigating Irish streets for the first time.

3. Get the most out of your journey

Cycling apps are a fast track to finding the bike ride that’s best for you, whether you just want to get out in the fresh air and enjoy a family cycle ride, or are keen to tackle an unfamiliar destination. Bike Hub Journey Planner is a go-to for spoken instructions, a choice of three routes (the quickest, quietest or scenic) as well as handy features such as finding the nearest bike service shop – just in case. Plus it’s free to download.

4. Basic maintenance is a must

Checking the tyre pressure, brake lines and pads, and keeping your chain oiled are all basic to your bike’s performance. If you can’t do it yourself, your local bike service centre (or member of your bike-friendly community) should be on hand to help. To find a reputable dealer, look for the Association of Cycle Traders (ACT) sign. It represents specialist cycle retailers who comply with their code of conduct. Cytec certificates are administered by ACT and are the industry’s recognised training and accreditation scheme for cycle mechanics and bike technicians.

Ireland’s equivalent is the IPBMA, and you can head to Cycle Superstore to pre-book your bike into one of their workshops for a service.

5. Join a cycling club

Cyclists tend to be a sociable crowd, love to share their road skills and are passionate about the fantastic feeling of achieving their goals… like hitting the top of that hill on a timed trial. Joining a club is a brilliant way for beginners to get a feel for competitive cycling or becoming a competent rider. Check out British Cycling  or Cycling Ireland to find your nearest club – and take pleasure in the power of the pedal.