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8 top tips for cycling around London

By UALHalls 03 Sep 2020

Cycling around a city as busy as London can be intimidating but once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be whizzing around like a professional.

Having the right advice before you start will save you a lot of time and money, so we’ve put together these handy tips we wish we’d had before we got started.

1. Know the rules and ride safely 🚴‍♀️

Before you get started it’s important that you know the rules of the road and learn the basic skills to ride your bike safely. As a city cyclist, you’ll share the road with other bikes, car, bus and lorries. As frustrating as this is, it’s the reality of cycling in a large city like London.

Reading up on The Highway Code will ensure you’re clued up before you hit the streets. You can also check out Cycling UK and TFL London as they have fantastic advice on their websites covering topics including road position, lights and signalling.

Need a bit more support? Why not try TFL's new free online cycle training course?

2. Get a decent bike 🚲

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a fancy bike if you are just starting out, but you should make sure it’s the correct size and well serviced. Gumtree is a great place to find secondhand bikes and who knows, you may even be able to negotiate a bargain.

If you don’t want to commit to buying a bike just yet, there are plenty of rental options around London. Santander bikes have docking station terminals all around London and can be rented using the Santander Cycles app. Students can save 25% on a yearly membership

3. Get yourself a good lock 🔐

All our colleges and halls (expect Wigram House) have bike storage facilities. However, it is worth investing in a good lock, so that you can lock up your bike safely when you are out and about in London.

4. Plan your route 📍

Planning your route only takes a couple of minutes but could save you a lot of grief. If you are a novice rider you may want to avoid large junctions and busy roundabouts.

Thankfully, there are plenty of apps to help you out. Komoot and the cycling mode on Google maps will show you cycle-friendly routes. You can also check out TFL’s cycle route maps to find designated cycle routes.

5. Wear a helmet 👷‍♀️

We know sweaty hair isn’t the most attractive look but wearing a helmet can save your life. Nowadays, you can buy lightweight, well-ventilated helmets on a budget so why risk it? It’s best to give it a try before you buy so, consider purchasing a helmet from your local bike shop.

It’s about time we champion the helmet hair. 

6. Find yourself a cycling buddy 👯‍♂️

Learning something new is always easier if you have a helping hand. Pairing up with a more experienced rider to cycle into college is perfect for building up your confidence. Let them lead the way while you focus on getting comfortable with the road.

7. It’s not a race 💨

When you’re running late for uni it can be tempting to put on your Tour De France game face and cycle as fast as you can. If you plan your route and set off in plenty of time, there is no need to turn up to uni drenched in sweat and ready to pass out.

8. Stay calm and have fun 😄

Staying calm is easier said than done but staying focused on the road is the most important thing you can do. The best way to build your confidence is to just get out and ride! Start by practising on quiet roads or cycle routes and work your way up to more challenging rides. 

So, whether you’re a beginner or not get out there and enjoy yourself. 

We hope that these top tips will set you on the correct path for a safe and enjoyable cycle. Remember, cycling can be for everyone you just need to get started.  

If you are thinking about cycling from your hall to college check out your cycle travel times.