The days are starting to get longer and the weather is getting warmer. You have hopefully been cycling through winter, but, if not, spring is one of the best times of the year to get back on your bike or to start cycling for the first time.
There are some helpful tips below – and remember that if you join LCC you will benefit from discounts of up to 10% at bike shops on bikes and accessories*; free third party insurance; a great magazine delivered to your door every two months; access to legal advice on cycling matters; and participation in our local cycle groups.
Buying a bike
If you are keen to start cycling, buying a bike can seem a confusing experience. The London Cycling Campaign has produced a guide giving advice on buying your bike. Follow the link on the right to read our info on buying a new or second hand bike. Don’t forget, LCC members are eligible for up to 10% discount on new bikes* at many bike shops.
Maintenance and repairs
It could be time to spruce up your bike for spring. Check the brakes are working efficiently, the gears are changing smoothly and there is enough air in your tyres.
If you cycle regularly, your bike should be serviced at least once a year. A service, which is available from most bikes shops, costs between £30 and £70.
To improve your maintenance skills, you could attend one of the regular maintenance workshops, which are held across London. See LCC’s magazine London Cyclist for details. Some workshops are also listed in our Cycle Maintenance section.
Ensure that you know how to fix a puncture. It is advisable to always carry a bicycle pump, a puncture repair kit, tyre levers and a spare inner tube. Using Kevlar tyres can help reduce the chance of getting a puncture. Other items which are useful to carry in a repair kit are an Allen key set, an adjustable spanner, a screwdriver and some oil. For info on fixing a puncture, brake and gear adjustments and more, follow the link on the right to visit our Cycle Maintenance section.
Although the weather is warmer in spring, you still need to be prepared for some chilly winds and the odd shower. A warm, waterproof jacket and waterproof over-trousers – (Gortex and other breathable materials are best, but are more expensive) - will protect you from any bad weather.
As the weather gets warmer, many cyclists wear comfortable trousers made of softer fabric, a breathable T-shirt (which wicks moisture away from the skin into the air) and a fleece. On shorter journeys, work clothes can be worn. Many people choose to wear shorts or cycling shorts under a skirt in warmer weather.
The days may be getting longer, but even on fine days you should be as visible as possible to motorists. Choose brightly-coloured garments for cycling gear and look out for jackets or bags with reflective materials. Many cyclists wear a high-visibility top or belt.
At night, modern LED lights are both bright and cheap to run. Batteries can last for several months. Alternatively, you can fit a dynamo which runs on pedal power.
Some cyclists wear lights on their helmets or clip an additional red light on to their rucksack. Reflective strips for your bike can also be bought from cycle shops.
London Cycling Campaign, in partnership with Transport for London (TfL), has produced 19 colour cycle maps showing recommended cycle routes throughout the capital. You can order then for free by following the link on the right.
Spring is a wonderful time to enjoy some of the great rides on London’s doorstep, from fast-paced rides through the Chilterns to a leisurely amble along the Thames. See the listing of events in our ‘Rides and Events’ section, or visit our Leisure Cycling section for some ideas for rides you can do by yourself or with friends or family, including along the Thames, through London’s parks, along canals and the Lee Valley and more.
The spring bonus
Spring is one of the best times in the year to enjoy London by bike – and the days just keep getting longer. Look out for local groups running ‘Afterworker’ rides in the evenings: contact your local group or visit the ‘Rides and Events’ section to find out more.
*Please note that all offers and discounts are made to members entirely at the discretion of the third-party supplier, from which we do not gain or have any control.