Sunday 8 December 2013

How to ensure you use your bicycle as often as possible

Summary: In order to maximise use of your bicycle, you should ride a reliable, well-equipped, urban bike in normal clothes, store it accessibly, lock it with a U lock, minimize unnecessary accessories, have a rain jacket, and have the essentials handy (lights, storage). It also helps if you make a habit of travelling light, make using a car less feasible and come to enjoy cycling and prefer it to the alternatives.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Tejvan Pettinger

1. Use a reliable urban bike with normal clothing
- A bike made for flexible urban riding in street clothing (hybrids, city/commuter bikes, single speeds) will mean you can ride to all likely destinations from wherever you are. You won't need to change clothes or go home first. Make sure you have puncture-proof tyres.

2. Equip your bike to maximise utility
- Have fenders and a saddle bag permanently installed. Consider a rack/basket too. Have rechargeable front and back lights handly that you can easily charge at home/work. Don't install inhibitors like pedals that can't be used with any type of shoe

3. Always carry a U lock attached to your bike
- If always using a U lock, locking properly and riding a bike that's not too expensive, you won't worry about your bike getting stolen. Make sure your U lock can be attached to your bike and, if possible, can fit through your helmet so it can be locked too.

4. Minimize unnecessary accessories but get the essentials
- Don't carry cycling gear you can't easily carry with you when you've reached your destination. But do keep handy practical things like a rain jacket or gloves in winter.

5. Store/park your bike in a very accessible place
- Keeping it in a garage or location that takes time or is inconvenient to access will often inhibit riding.

6. Learn how to deal with sweat
- Dress in light, breathable clothing, ride at a slower pace, don't carry a backpack and use a washroom to freshen up at your destination. See: > Solve the sweat problem without showers and changing clothes

7. Eliminate your car or other transport options
- The best step is to actually take the alternatives away - this will force you to resolve the other barriers (or excuses) that prevent you using your bike. Make your car less easy to use and, if ultimately feasible, get rid of it entirely. Use a car share scheme or hire cares when necessary.

8. Use your friend's car for extra carrying capacity
- Typically there is always at least one friend driving. This is useful for carrying bulky or heavy items longer distances.

9. Utilise bike share systems
- Sometimes your bike isn't available or feasible but a bike share bicycle is. E.g. You don't have to replace your entire commute with cycling. You could use public transport combined with a bike share.