Five ways to keep safe when cycling to work
Cycling can be an incredible way to improve your fitness, boost your dacadoo health score and shed those extra pounds before Christmas. It is an activity that works numerous sets of muscles in your body including your legs, bum and back, as well as improving your overall health.
However, in order to make sure you achieve your weight loss or fitness goals, it's important you take all the right safety precautions – especially at this time of year. With many people leading busy lives, using your commute as their daily workout can be a great way to make the most of your time. Cycling to work is a brilliant way to get an effective exercise into your day – without having to sacrifice time with your family or socialising with your friends.
With the nights drawing in and the weather getting colder, many people will be deterred from making the daily commute to work on their bike. But there are ways you can keep up your exercise without putting your safety at risk.
Wear reflective clothing
For novice cyclists, it may seem like an expense you don't need but reflective clothing can be the difference to you being seen and being injured when on the road. Even when it isn't dark it's advised that you wear reflective clothing to help you be seen by motorists, but at this time of year it's vital that you help people on the road see you better.
If you are worried about your street cred, then you can invest in some high-quality and fashionable gear that will look great but will also ensure you are seen by other road users and stay safe.
Stay off busy roads
It's important that you plan your route and think about where will be the safest for you to cycle on your bike. The path you normally travel in the car or on a bus is unlikely to be the best route for cyclists. Use technology and apps like Google Maps or AA route planner to look ahead and see which roads will be safer for your two wheels. This is usually – but not always – the least busiest paths or ones that have cycle lanes so you don't have to contend with high amounts of traffic.
Use common sense
Although it's great that you want to be able to stick to your fitness regime, it's important to realise when the risk simply isn't worth it and to get the bus or use the car instead. At this time of year the weather can be unpredictable, with ice and fog making it unsafe for cyclists. It's a good idea to look at the weather in advance to see whether you will need to catch the bus or ride your bike in the morning.
As well as investing in the right protective and reflective clothing, it's a good idea to make sure your bike itself is fit for the winter periods. Some novice cyclists may not know that you can get tyres that are specially suited to this time of year, gripping to the road better and reducing the risk of you being involved in an accident.
At this time of year, with the nights getting darker earlier, it's better to opt for a belts and braces method. Using lights on your bike, along with reflective clothing will double the chance that drivers and pedestrians will see you on your journey to and from work.