Week 5 – from couch to commuter cyclist in 6 weeks

Posted by:
March 14, 2013 00

Congratulations for making it this far! I’m super proud of you. Only this week and next week to go…

So this week’s objectives – cornering, making eye contact with drivers and considering your commuting route.



Find a nice quiet street with some corners ….

– Break before the corner

– Practise leaning slightly into the corner

– As you go into the corner, lean your weight on the feet on the outside pedal. i.e. the foot on the outside pedal should be facing down towards the road. This may sound counter intuitive but makes more sense when you do it.

– The foot on the inside pedal nearest the corner should be up. (watch the first minute of this – especially around 40 seconds you can see them cornering with the inside leg up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU-YIeXxuDs).

– Try cornering both left and right and ideally start with some big sweeping corners before trying tighter corners

– Also notice what gear you are in, similar to going up a hill, a higher gear will just give you a bit more stability going into the corner

Making eye contact with drivers

This is by far the best advice I’ve ever received. The best way to stay safe on the road and ensure motorists let you in, is to look over your shoulder and make eye contact with the driver behind you.

Particularly when turning or indicating, if you’ve locked eyes with them you know they have seen you.

It also means you are now suddenly a person to them and not just another cyclist.

When you look back at the motorist be careful not to steer off in a crazy direction! (Oh it happens!).

Often after making eye contact, a motorist will give you more space which is a good thing.

Choosing your route carefully

This week I also want you to start considering your commuting route to work. By this I mean, don’t assume that the way you would drive is the way you will cycle.

Investigate bike paths (although if you are not a confident cyclist, these can be pretty crazy busy in peak hour) or check our quieter roads which may take you on a slightly further journey but make you feel safe.

If you can, try driving it just to see what it might be like.

Choosing your route is super important so spend the time considering it. Don’t forget there are lots of great places you can ride where a car can’t go – e.g. Darling Harbour or around the front of the convention centre, and these may be options for you on your route.

If you are having trouble ask other cyclists or you can ask me and I can share it with the BikeGal community. Someone will have an answer for you.

Some councils have also now produced bike maps, which show the local area and the best routes for bikes. So contact your local council too.

Riding up hills out of the saddle

I hope you are starting to make progress with riding up hills and getting out of the saddle.

Don’t forget that unless you are riding up a really really steep hill, if you have lots of gears you don’t have to get out of your saddle to get up the hill. And very worse case scenario – you can always hop off and walk. There is no harm in that.

Next week we are going to have a review of everything and see where you are up to!

I hope it’s going well – email me and let me know info@bikegal.com

Happy cycling!


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