Top Ten Tips for Cycle Commuting
 

24 May 2022

Much best-practice wisdom about cycle commuting has been proffered by Ground Effect over the years. As we descend into winter a twitter-sized digestible summary seems in order. So here, in no particular order, are our hot tips for urban biking bliss...

  1. Mr Bright Deny your inner goth, ditch the dark clothing and don a bright orange or limelight vest or jacket.

    Photo: Dominic Blissett

  2. Put A Lid On It Arguably the most visible wearable item is your helmet. Bright is good; black or dark grey less so. If you sit in the later camp then take the opportunity to specify a bright colour when the time rolls around to replace your lid.
  3. See The Light Given that bright, correctly mounted front and rear lights are such an obvious advantage, it's confounding that so many tarmac cyclists play roulette with no lights, woefully dim models, or good lights pointing at the ground when dangling from a backpack. Day-time flash is pretty standard on good quality lights and is extraordinarily effective.

    Photo: Dominic Blissett

  4. Keep 'Em Rollin' Fit slicks and/or pump your tyres up hard for easier pedalling. Around 60 psi is a good target.
  5. Muck Off Score some mudguards. Your bum and legs will stay drier and devoid of road splatter. 
  6. Skill Up Practise defensive cycling. Even if you're on the right side of the road code, you're likely to end up worse off if you suffer a crash with a motorised vehicle. The standard bogies to anticipate:
    • Don't hug the curb. About a metre into the traffic gets you into the flow so vehicles are encouraged to wait and overtake, rather than squeeze past.
    • That distance also helps evade the dreaded car door being opened on you. Keep an eye on wing mirrors of parked cars - you can often spot a driver about to exit.
    • Anticipate the 'overtake-then-turn-left' manoeuvre.
    • Be predictable, but never boring. Erratic riding is unfair to motorists.  Avoid excessive speed in congested zones.
    • Much more at On the Road Skills.


Photo: Caleb Smith

  1. Zoom Zoom eBikes are fast and fun - that's great for reduced transit time. However drivers are unlikely to differentiate you from a slower, normally aspirated bike. Be prepared to brake should a driver cut in front of you.
  2. Same Same Establish a standard route to and from work each day - hopefully mostly on segregated cycle paths, cycle lanes or lower volume roads. Identify any black spots and invoke appropriate defensive habits.
  3. Karma Cycling or eCycling keeps you fit, costs less, there's no parking fuss, traffic jams don't apply to bike lanes and for most of us it's the most leveraged opportunity to lessen our carbon footprint.
  4. Advocate Lobby your workplace for a secure lock up, shower and space to hang any damp or sweaty clothes.

Pedal on 


6 Responses

Pete
Pete

10 June 2022

Good job team. A couple of suggestions. Along the lighting thread, angle bright lights down and do not use flashing mode on head lights, when lights were dim that helped to be seen. But now they are so bright there is a real problem of temporarily blinding other cyclists on dark commutes.

Sharing the commute on mixed use paths, when passing, use a bell when far off, or a polite “Hello , passing on the right” especially for pedestrians.
Cheers

Brian
Brian

26 May 2022

On point 1, hi-viz is great in daylight but I’ve seen some good research that it makes little difference after dark. Good-sized reflective patches on knees and ankles (moving bits) were your best chance, although really they recommended doing everything you can to be seen after dark — wearing white or silver, wearing lots of reflective materials, good lights etc.

James
James

25 May 2022

Don’t wear a head lamp on the road at night. It changes the perception of your distance away from vehicles at intersections and anyway bikes are required to have a light on them at night.
I so nearly pulled my bus out in front of a cyclist with a head light approaching from the right down a significant hill because what I saw was him away up the hill with a bike light. Actually it was a tall bloke with a head light about 30 metres away. So confusing.

Patrick Morgan
Patrick Morgan

25 May 2022

@Bob – yes. See https://www.bikeready.govt.nz/

Barbara
Barbara

25 May 2022

Here are my tips:

Use hand signals. Just because motorists often don’t isn’t a reason not to. I’m rather proud of my signaling and am waiting (in vain of course) for someone to come up to me and say ‘you must be that elderly woman cyclist with the excellent hand signals’

Let the cycle chic manifesto be your guide. That’s not going to go down well with you more sporty cyclists I know.

Don’t have those super bright lights – they’re can be dangerous to other cyclists – especially older ones
I’m no longer commuting but my entire working life I did. I’m 79 now and still alive – amazing

Bob
Bob

25 May 2022

Excellent content guys. Hope you are promoting this through all cycle groups in your list.
Are there any references /books around that could be used to train up non-current road users ie. School children?

Leave a comment