The Neighbourhood is proud to be able to offer free bikes to residents, and we thought maybe a few of you might need a gentle nudge on why biking really is brilliant for you!
Cycling is a fantastic way to keep fit, see the city effortlessly, enjoy a gym experience for free and can be done solo or with others. What’s not to love?
So if coronavirus is encouraging you to rethink how you get around town, here are our top tips for a fantastic experience on two wheels:
Position your saddle height and legs onto your pedals so that they feel just right. Cycling is supposed to be very comfortable.
We know you’ll be wanting to show off that new Lycra onesie, lol, but weather can change quickly so discover the art of layering your clothes so you can cool down or warm up quickly. Jeans also aren’t brilliant for cycling as often baggy, and tears & rips are downright dangerous. Something water-proof is also a good idea, just in case.
Refuel: Remember to take water and food.
There’s no worse feeling on a bike than dehydration or complete energy depletion, so take fluid and some ride rations with you. Snacks like a banana, flapjack or chocolate (for that quick burst of sugar) are easy. Perhaps pack a little picnic for when you get to the park for perfect repletion!
Be a Hipster
‘Bum bags’ (also known as hip bags) are brilliant to keep mobile, cash cards and lovely bits like lip balm in. Fashionistas will delight in the fact they come in all sizes, styles and colours, check out the fab adidas ones here.
Like Boris says, be alert, and aware. Never believe your bike is safe when you’re out and about, even if you leave it unattended for just a moment.
Now comes the fun bits - where to go on your bike ride?
Build up the distance you can cycle. For your first bike ride a great place to build your confidence is a traffic-free trail or park. If you haven’t cycled in a while aim to cover around 5 miles and then build up your distance, so that you don’t over-do it. Little and often is the best way to increase strength and confidence.
Find some bike buddies!
Cycling alone is great – it lets you clear you head, enjoy some solitude and take in the beauty of the world without distractions. But riding with people is great fun too and having some cycling friends will help all aspects of your cycling develop much faster.
Map it out
It’s great to head out on the open road or trail and see where the day takes you but it’s also rewarding to have a ride challenge set out in advance. Online mapping will help you plan out an awesome route for the ride ahead (or find your way back).
A fitness watch or activity monitor or just your smartphone will help you keep a record of where you’ve cycled and how many miles you’ve racked up, without having to manually log it all in a training book.
Strava is a GPS app that cyclists can use to track their workouts. In addition to providing you with stats like your distance, pace, speed and elevation gained, it also has its own social network which you can use to connect with other athletes. The app will log your personal records and post your stats on leader-boards so you can compare your hard work with your friends, other locals and even elite athletes. You can also use it to find new routes and join monthly challenges to help keep motivated.
Getting out on your bike in Exeter
Exeter is a very cycle-friendly city and has numerous cycle routes (including bus and cycle lanes) as well as quiet roads identified as part of a cycle network.
So why not jump on your bike and cycle along the Exe Estuary Trail, a 26 mile, mainly flat cycle and walkway which runs around the entire Exe Estuary linking Exmouth, Exeter and Dawlish, with fantastic views along the River Exe and forms part of National Cycle Network 2.
This route provides an exciting opportunity for people to experience cycling or walking around the entire Exe Estuary, appreciating the wildlife and passing through some beautiful riverside towns and villages steeped in maritime history.
What about Cardiff you ask?
Cardiff is also a fantastic city to cycle in as it is a very flat and compact space which can easily be explored by bike, with the majority of attractions, shops, restaurants and parks all within a few minutes of each other.
Thanks to the National Cycle Network, Cardiff has hundreds of miles of wonderful cycling routes (many of which are traffic-free) that connect with holiday areas, country parks and historic attractions, allowing you to combine your bike ride with a sight-seeing experience.
And don’t worry, if your bike gets a little puncture, feels anything but perfect or needs an oil, just let Kelly at Cardiff or Adam at Exeter The Neighbourhood know and we’ll happily carry out a free bike service for you.
Happy riding, y'all!