As you know, we are big fans of cycling – it’s a great way to commute to work and school that allows you to avoid traffic jams, keep fit, and save time. But many people are put off: they think it’s dangerous, or they’re not healthy enough, or are too old. We’re here to tell you that doesn’t have to be the case. Here are a few myths about cycling.
Myth 1: Cycling isn’t safe
If you are riding on a separated cycle path, cycling is very safe. There are growing numbers of cycle routes in the UK now, and the Government is committed to improving the network and adding many more.
Cycling in heavy traffic can be a bit trickier, especially if you are new to cycling.
Our advice is to avoid fast traffic, if at all possible – especially if you are new to cycling or lack confidence. There are often quiet back streets that you can take to avoid heavy traffic and if you have to go along a busy road for part of the trip. Pick short trips that are quiet and a pleasure to ride, say to the local shop to pick up milk or to a cafe on a Sunday morning.
Plan your journey if you can. And talk to other cyclists: what are their favourite routes, where should you avoid, etc. You could also try one of the many route planning apps, which often incorporate data and insights from other cyclists.
Myth 2: I am too old to ride a bike
A bicycle is a suitable form of activity for everyone, regardless of age, weight or form. Not everyone has to rush to the roads at the speed of light. We can adapt the ride to our abilities. Additionally, if the bike is uncomfortable, you may just need to adjust the saddle – most bike shops will do this for you and it makes an amazing difference.
Myth 3: I am not fit
You don't need to be fit! Most people can ride a bike to work, especially if it's over a short distance. Even if you live somewhere hilly, there are now electric-powered bicycles that take a lot of the strain for you. And if you cycle regularly, you will definitely get better at it; and, after a while, you will notice that not only are you able to get there faster, but you also won't get out of breath so easily.
Myth 4: I can’t carry all my luggage to work
Maybe you need to take more than a backpack to work, or you need to bring the shopping home. Even if you need to carry a few kilos of gear every day, a bike is still a great option for you. It may be worth investing in a rack, basket or pannier bags. You will be surprised at what you can easily carry.
Myth 5: The weather isn’t right
Bright, hot days at the height of summer are certainly great times to get out and enjoy riding your bike, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay in and watch TV at the slightest sign of rain. Simply dressing appropriately will keep you warm and dry, and and the ride enjoyable. The last thing you want is to be wet and cold, so make sure you’ve got a good waterproof jacket – and a set of water-repellent overshoes can be a good investment!
Myth 6: Cycling makes you sweaty
Not if you do it properly! Riding a bike is just like walking: if you walk very quickly or run, you get hot and sweaty; but if you walk at a gentle pace, you don’t. The same goes for riding a bike: if you start to sweat (and you don’t want to) just ride more slowly, or stop and take a break.
Other things to help you sweat less include:
● Wearing suitably light, ventilated clothing
● Keeping the water bottle handy
● Using baskets and panniers to carry your stuff, not backpacks and shoulder bags.
You’ll also find that you sweat less the more you cycle and the fitter you get.