Walking And Cycling
NEW TO CYCLING OR BEEN A WHILE?
If you are new to riding or it has been a while since you last rode, before you head out here are some of the basics.
Where can I cycle?
While you can legally cycle on all roads apart from motorways, if you're only just getting started it's best to choose some quieter roads while you get the hang of things. We also have a fantastic network of greenways – you can view greenways across DCSDC area here: www.derrystrabane.com/cycle by clicking on cycle routes.
So, what should I wear?
Whatever feels comfortable - there’s no need for specialist clothing or to squeeze yourself into lycra! A t-shirt, lightweight jacket, jeans or tracksuit bottoms and trainers will be fine for a gentle ride. If you find you get a bit saddle sore, you might want to get some padded cycling shorts to wear underneath your trousers but, for these relatively short rides, they shouldn’t be necessary. If you’re wearing fairly loose fitting trousers, tuck your right-side ankle cuff into your socks to prevent it from catching your chain.
Do I have to wear a helmet?
No, in the UK and Ireland there’s no legal requirement to wear a helmet when cycling and Sustrans strongly believe that it should be a matter of personal choice.
Modern cycling helmets are lightweight, well ventilated and comfortable though, so, if you do choose to wear one, it won’t impact on your enjoyment of your ride.
What happens if I get a puncture?
Check out this video on how to fix a puncture https://youtu.be/dVNxD6rW3zQ and if having watched it, you’re not a 100% sure then perhaps have a go at home first, alternatively when you head out stay within walking distance of your home.
Modern bikes are pretty robust and as long as you avoid obvious puncture hazards such as broken glass and keep your tyres pumped up, you shouldn't have to worry too much about punctures.
What should I carry?
Following the Government Guidelines, you shouldn’t ever be too far from home but it’s still a good idea to carry some spares to save you a walk if you do have a puncture or something works loose on your bike.
Multi-tool: A multitool should have a range of allen keys, screwdriver and torx heads that will allow you to adjust all of the important bits on your bike. Your handlebars, stem and seat post clamps are the most likely candidates for tweaking if you know what to do.
Pump: There are a whole load of options ranging from full sized to frame mounted ones down to super compact mini-pumps and CO2 canister options. As a general rule, the smaller the pump, the more effort needed to inflate a tyre.
Tyre levers: Getting a tyre off and back on a rim can be a thumb breaking and often impossible task without a set of tyre levers. Plastic ones are lighter and less likely to damage your inner tube or rim than metal ones, although I am often advised that teaspoons work well J
Inner tube: Make sure it’s the correct size and valve type for your wheels and tyres – all the information about your tyre can be found on the rim of the tyre or give your local bike shop a shout and they can help. Take your punctured tube home, patch it and re-use or send it to www.cycleofgood.com for recycling.
Mobile phone: You’ll probably have it with you anyway but, when cycling, you should have your screen lock off and an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number saved.
How to carry it all
This might seem like a lot but it’ll all easily fit into a small saddle bag or a canister that you can carry in one of your bottle cages. If you don't have those, you can always just use a standard rucksack instead.
Check your bike
You can massively reduce the risk of a puncture or a mechanical failure by performing simple checks. The M Check can be carried out in 11 simple steps https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/get-active/2019/everyday-walking-and-cycling/the-m-check-for-your-bike-in-11-steps/
This simple check can ensure your bike is in road worthy condition and checking your tyres are inflated will reduce your risk of a puncture – so always check your air.
It is always good to let someone know where you are going for your ride. This is just in case you get a puncture, too tired, or you are just a little later than you expected in arriving home. Count it as your personal breakdown service. After all, we do not want to put any additional pressure on the emergency services at this time. Remember, stay local and in areas that you know well.
TEACHING CHILDREN TO RIDE
I have noticed a number of parents taking the opportunity of being at home to teach their children to ride a bike – if this is something you have tried or are thinking of doing here is some helpful information and videos to guide you through the process:
Finally, Sustrans have launched #Cycles4KeyWorkers this is an online map showing offers on bikes, repairs and equipment for key workers – the map is being continually updated so if you or anyone you know is a key worker and is using a bike then it is worth a look to see what might be available. You can also find details of bike shops that are open.
You can view the map here: www.sustrans.org.uk/keyworkers