Week 6 – from couch to commuter cyclist in 6 weeks

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April 1, 2013 00

So sorry for the delay on getting this blog up – I’ve been sick…. Anyway, here it is! We are here, week 6. Well done to you for making it this far.

By now if you have been trying everything in these blogs you should be ok at braking, cornering, getting out of the saddle, indicating and dealing with some traffic.

The last piece of the puzzle is considering where on the road to ride.

This may sound silly but it’s super important and will help with your confidence on the road while commuting by bike.

Repeat after me – I will not ride in the gutter!  You don’t need to. Legally you are allowed to own the lane. By this I mean, ride in the middle of the lane not on the far left. This means cars actually have to change lanes to go around you, instead of trying to squeeze past you.

If you ride in the gutter, you can expect cars to try and sneak past you in your lane and they will come close and probably give you a fright.

So….

Own the lane – take the whole lane. Ride in the middle of the lane. If motorists don’t like this, that is your problem. You are legally allowed to. Even better, ride with a friend and ride two abreast. Again you are allowed to do this and you will feel much safer doing so. Of course, if you are commuting on a regular cycle route, give other cyclists enough room to pass you on the right. Taking the lane also means you are out of harm’s way in terms of car doors opening on you.

Don’t run red lights. It makes you look like a doofus, it gives the rest of us a bad name and it’s dangerous. You could hit a car or a pedestrian. If you wouldn’t do it while driving, then don’t do it on a bike.

When in dedicated bike lanes, stick to the left unless you are overtaking. And when you are overtaking, it’s courteous to ring your bell or call out and let the cyclist in front of you know you are coming past them. E.g. “passing on the right”, “I’m on your right” etc.

Don’t ride on the footpath. Unless you are with a little person or the footpath is dedicated cycle paths (which happens – e.g. Victoria Road), it’s illegal to ride on the footpath. You will cause angst for pedestrians too. Not worth it.

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Some road rules apply specifically to cyclists. Did you know you can:

  • Ride two abreast, no more than 1.5 m apart
  • Overtake on the left hand side of stopped or slow moving vehicles
  • Travel in Bus Lanes and Transit Lanes
  • Ride on the footpath if less than 12 years old
  • Ride on the footpath if you are an adult riding with, and supervising, an under 12 year old
  • Turn right from the left hand lane of a multi-lane roundabout with the proviso that you give way to traffic exiting the roundabout before you
  • Travel on road shoulders.

If you don’t believe me go http://www.bicycleinfo.nsw.gov.au/riding_safely/nsw_road_rules.html and check it out!

Congratulations on getting this far. I hope by now you are feeling more confident.

But what if you’re not?

If not, don’t fret. These things take time.  It took me much longer than six weeks to get the courage to commute to work on my bike. And if that’s you too, well so be it.

It may just mean a few more rides on quiet back streets or in a park until you get your confidence up.

Give yourself a pat on the back for giving this a go. Cycling as an adult is not the same as cycling as a kid. So well done for being brave and getting out there.

Let me know how you go!!

In the future, we will also run a special blog on cycling in cleats. Stay tuned.

Happy cycling!

BikeGal.com

 

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