10 tips to making riding your bike normal

The greatest thing that helps me ride my bike more often is making it easy to do so. So some tips:

  1. Ride in normal clothes. If you have to change to ride your bike then change the bike.
  2. Fit flat pedals only. You need to be able to ride in whatever is on your feet. For me that generally means trainers, smart shoes or crocs. If you wear high heels then get pedals covered in rubber. Do not have toe clips or clipless pedals that need special shoes.
  3. Fit excellent mudguards (fenders if you are American). If you cannot go for a ride in good shoes and no coat immediately after heavy rain, when there are plenty of big puddles about, then you need better mudguards. Consider adding mudflaps to the ends of the mudguards to stop spray onto your feet or the person behind. To keep your clothes properly clean a chainguard or better a chain case helps a lot. Second if you like long coats, jackets, skirts, scarves etc then fit a skirt guard to keep them clean and stop them tangling in the back wheel
  4. Have big tyres (I think 32mm is absolute minimum but 37mm a more sensible minimum) that have the very best puncture resistance available. In the UK cycle paths have lots of glass on them that never gets cleared up. With leaves and puddles abounding you are not going to see either glass or potholes so big tyres keep you rolling.
  5. Make it quicker and easier to get your bike out than your car. Keep the car keys somewhere inconvenient (good security measure), also put your bike keys on the same keyring as your house key with the car key separate . Make sure all you need for the bike is on it or right next to it. Sort out where you keep the bike so it is really quick to use.
  6. Make sure you have simple ways to carry stuff. It might be a full cargobike or a front basket and rear rack with panniers. Or simply practice riding with bags hanging from the handlebars. If you can carry stuff then your bike is suddenly a lot more useful for more journeys.
  7. Invest in dynamo lighting. The lights and dynamo are fixed to the bike and so are always available (ideally they can come on automatically when it gets dark). Best if they have standlights so they don’t go out (for a few minutes anyway) when you stop. Make the bike visible so you can wear normal clothes.
  8. If security is a problem then invest in things to make it hard to pinch parts of your bike, particularly wheels and saddle (see  Pitlock or Infiniti3D security which might be even better soon) then just use a really tough U-lock to lock the frame to something fixed to the ground (make sure it is not a post that the bike can be lifted over).
  9. Get a really reliable year round bike . For me that means hub gears (or if you are strong then no gears ie a fixie) and hub, roller or disc brakes. If you can get on with them then Coaster brakes (the sort you operate by back pedaling) have the least to go wrong. The bike must be ready to go without checking it or fixing it.
  10. Make it a habit. Challenge yourself to ride your bike every day so that it becomes natural and normal.
Related Posts
  1. Breaking your own rules « 42 Bikes - pingback on November 8, 2010 at 3:59 pm
  2. Cycling gear for cold weather « 42 Bikes - pingback on November 27, 2010 at 8:46 pm

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