Getting to work by bicycle is going to be a key part of the government's plan moving out of the current lockdown. Cycling to work will help ease overcrowding on public transport, with some estimates suggesting that trains could run only at 12 per cent capacity if commuters observed social distancing. This should see an unprecedented amount of cyclists out on the roads, and it has not entirely been disclosed how the government will deal with this. However in preparation for cycling back to work, we thought we’d create a handy guide on commuting safely to work after the lockdown.
Check in with work on facilities
Before you begin commuting to work check in with your employer to see what facilities are available to use. It’s good to know how often showers and changing facilities are cleaned. You may want to consider other options like sustainable wet wipes, dry shampoo or a simple flannel in order to get fresh for the day.
It’s also a good idea to let your employer know that you’ll be cycling to work in advance. This way they can plan for added social distancing measures for people cycling to work.
Wear comfortable clothing
Being comfortable on the bike will make commuting by bike a more pleasurable experience. You needn’t wear any specific cycling clothes, just as long as you're going to be comfortable cycling for the length of your commute. If you have a longer commute, you may want a spare change of clothes to pop on when you get to work. You can also try keeping a spare set of clothes at work too - if it’s a rainy ride in, the last thing you want is to be wet and cold all day.
Despite there being less motor vehicles out on the roads, it’s still important to be seen by all road users. It’s a good idea to wear high vis reflective clothing in the evening and bright colours in the daylight. A Danish study suggested that cyclists are more than 50% less likely to be involved in a collision when wearing high-visibility clothing.
A good set of bicycle lights will keep you visible to road users both in the daytime and at night. Bike lights are a legal requirement for cycling on the roads at night, so having a pair and keeping them charged is non-negotiable. If you’re lost when it comes to figuring out bike lights, check out our ultimate guide to choosing the right set with Beryl.
Use the cycling infrastructure
It’s worth doing some research on the route you plan to start riding to work on. The cycling infrastructure around cities might have changed or improved to accommodate more cyclists. In Leicester, pop up cycleways have already been put in place to aid key workers who cycle to and from Leicester Royal Infirmary. This is likely to be a trend across the country, with small sections of segregated cycle lanes popping up every day, in the nations effort to keep people moving.
Carry your own tools
If you’re cycling to work you're definitely going to want to carry the essentials should the worst happen. Popping into a bike shop or hopping on the train with your bike is going to be harder and more faff after the lockdown has lifted. The most vital tools to carry would be some tyre levers, a multi-tool, pump and spare tubes. This set-up will cover you in the event of a puncture, which can then be repaired on the roadside.
If you want to carry less kit, a CO2 cartridge or even Muc-Off’s B.A.M system will quickly get you back on the road, without the need of a minipump. The B.A.M works by inserting latex foam and air into the tyre or tube, being able to inflate a 29” tyre in under a minute, whilst sealing holes of 3-4mm.
Brush up on your maintenance skills
This goes in tandem with carrying some tools on your commute. Being able to quickly fix a puncture or repair a snapped chain will help you when stranded at the roadside! There are a wealth of online videos to learn from as well as our very own ‘Mechanic Matt’ Instagram live sessions. Tune in every Thursday on the @lakahq Instagram to ask your maintenance questions!
Park your bike safely
Store your bike inside where possible, however you can store it outside providing you lock it up correctly. We recommend you use a gold sold secure lock as they provide the maximum amount of protection against theft. When locking your bike, make sure the frame is fixed to the bike stand first and then you can think about fixing wheels second. Need to up your locking skills, then check out our ultimate guide to locking your bike securely in the city!
If you are locking your bike in a Sheffield style rack, like the one pictured below, then it would be a good idea to carry some gloves or antibacterial hand gel when in and around the bike parking area.
Aches, sores and discomfort
If you’re new to riding to work you may experience achy legs after consecutive days of back to back riding. Remember to take it easy on yourself and rest when you need to, any day cycling is better than none! Once your tight legs, saddle sore or whatever’s causing you pain has subsided, you’re good to get back on the bike!