Cycling in London is Changing
LONDON HAS BECOME a friendlier and safer place for cyclists. A massive number of people have rediscovered or taken up cycling over the past year. There is no doubt that the spread of cycle lanes in many towns and cities has made cycling more convenient and safer for cyclists to get to where they want to go.
• London has 260km of high-quality, safer cycle routes
• One in five Londoners now live near the cycle network
• London now has the most extensive zero-emission bus fleet in Europe
Twenty-five of the capital's most dangerous and intimidating junctions have been transformed in recent years to make them much safer, resulting in an average 46 per cent reduction in cycling accidents at these locations.
I ride for pleasure as part of my exercise routine, but with age, I needed to buy an e-bike to ease the pressure on my joints when climbing hills. But if you're looking to make your journey to work a little more sustainable and healthier, cycling is the best alternate option.
Did you know that the average petrol car produces about 120 grams of CO2 for every kilometre travelled? This can be dramatically decreased by swapping the throttle for the pedal.
However, where people may have favoured cars over bicycles due to travel times, newer alternatives match the pace and make cycling a more viable commuting option.
Electric bikes can travel up to speeds of 15.5 miles per hour. This is about one-third quicker than the average cycling speed.
A five-mile journey by car may take 15 minutes, but only 20 minutes on an e-bike. While the five-minute difference is almost unnoticeable, the savings on exorbitant petrol prices making this journey, back and forth, every working day for a year could be around £1,000.
This is before saving on insurance and tax. If budgeting is a concern in your life, starting with an e-bike is a great way to help your finances.
Don't worry about constant recharging. Some bikes can travel around 120 miles before needing their batteries plugged in. The average commuter only has to recharge the battery once per week. Plug it in for the weekend and get ready for the next week's commute – you'll never have to queue at the petrol pump again.
If you're new to cycling, it's always good to know what equipment and gear you'll need. Or just want a little extra comfort while riding, this guide will tell you what to acquire and why.
Road-cycling helmets combine protection and ventilation in a package that is as light (or aerodynamic) as the rider's budget allows. MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) and various additional safety features are available on some models.
Cap for cyclists
Front-peak caps give shade for your eyes in the summer and additional insulation for your head in the winter.
Bicyclists wear glasses for safety and lessen the risk of grit, dust, or flying insects irritating your eyes. They usually come in a wraparound form, with a lens that gives good clarity, sun protection, a fog-resistant coating, and a single range of vision.
Jerseys for cyclists
The best cycling jerseys are tight-fitting and constructed Lycra; however, some models include a Merino wool blend. They usually have a full-length or half-length zip on the front, a high neckline, and built-in lower-back pockets. These pockets hold basics such as a wallet, a small jacket, snacks, or minor repair tools such as a multi-tool.
Bibs or shorts
When it comes to rider comfort, padded shorts or tights are essential. The elastic cloth, a supportive Lycra fabric, moves with the rider. Cycling legwear is available in various lengths, including shorts for warm weather and full-length or tights for cold weather.
If the weather is pleasant but the wind is cold, a windproof jacket or gilet gives just enough protection to keep you warm without the bulk of a waterproof garment.
Gloves or mitts
Mitts or fingerless gloves provide additional cushioning and protection from the wind.
Shoes with clips
I wear shoes with cleats that connect to the pedals. Clipping in makes pedalling more efficient, and the shoes can make the transfer of force from leg to pedal to bike even more successful by having features like stiff soles and a snug fit.