8 tips to help you master commuting in London
The weather is getting warmer and is lending itself to getting to and from the office by the power of your own legs. Commuting by train or bus can now be replaced with cycling which will add an extra work-out to your day, save you money, and will avoid any noses in armpits on a crowded tube carriage in humid summer climates.
There is however no point in denying that cycling in London can be dangerous. Hopefully, these tips will help you prevent any altercations and help you in your way to mastering the commute in London.
Practice your route on a quiet Sunday afternoon
If you are nervous about your maiden cycle commute, practice it when you know the roads will be slightly quieter, and when you aren’t time pressured and can afford to take a wrong turn. It might be that the route there isn’t the same as the route back due to any one-way systems, so it’s worth having a mental map before you head off for the first time on a Monday morning.
Google Maps will suggest routes for you that are bike-friendly, or you can also map a route on the TFL website.
Prepare for bad weather
The savvy London cyclist will always carry a back-up rain mac should the heavens open mid-ride. Some offices may provide shower facilities where you can sort yourself out but it’s worth staying as dry as you can rather than sitting like a wet dog at your desk all day long.
Don’t jump lights
Observing basic traffic rules will reduce the amount of angry horns sounded in your direction and will also keep you safer. However tempting, do not run the lights – there is no point and you could be putting both yourself and pedestrians at risk. It also gives motorists an excuse to give cyclists a bad name.
Do not undertake on corners
This could end very badly as vehicles expect overtaking to occur on their right and you will be sitting in a blind spot. Wait for turning vehicles to be clear of the corner before you proceed if you are not already ahead of them and visible.
Soak up the London cycling scene
As a cyclist commuter, you have officially been sworn into the London cycling community which is really thriving at the moment. Be sure to take advantage of all the local cycling coffee shops and learn about cycling events, and even pick up some cool threads to complete your cycle chic look! Here are few favourites:
- Look Mum No Hands in Old Street & Mare Street
- Workshop Coffee in Clerkenwell
- The Rapha Café in Piccadilly
- Grind in Putney
- Artisan in Putney
Invest in a good lock
It’s inevitable in the big bad capital that you will need to consider your bike safety if your office does not have any garage-like parking. A good, solid D-Lock with an extra cable for the front wheel is a good secure option, and won’t weigh you down. Hiplok have some great options for commuters, including their new HipLok GOLD which can be fastened around your waist like a belt for extra comfort.
Be aware of Santander
Cycling is thankfully booming in London and it’s great to see that it offers an accessible bike rental service in partnership with Santander. Just keep an eye out as it is likely many cyclists on these rentals will not be wearing a helmet, or know the city or road rules at all. Sit slightly ahead of them at traffic lights so you can get off faster and continue your journey to avoid any wobbles that might be caused by a lack of experience on London roads.
Don’t forget that you are cycling in one of the best cities in the world, and get to pass some of the most iconic landmarks. Soak it all in twice daily, and enjoy the sense of freedom it brings.