Switching to a bike can be a rewarding change in the way you travel.
Using a bicycle for transport can improve your health and fitness, remove the stress of driving, and save you money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
If you already cycle to work, you can increase the number of times you ride. Even if you can’t ride everywhere, you can replace some weekend car trips with bicycle rides and still save.
Get a bicycle
If you’re going to cycle regularly you will need a bicycle that meets your needs. Dust off your old bike and check the chain, tyres and brakes. If you need a new bicycle, think about:
- how often you’ll cycle
- the length of your trip
- which route you’ll cycle.
This will help you decide what type and quality of bicycle you need. Talk to friends and colleagues who cycle regularly and do your research. A bicycle shop can give you more advice and options.
Some planning will help make your trip safer and easier. You don’t need a complete cycling outfit, but you will need some basic items.
- A helmet, bright coloured clothing and lights are essential for your safety.
- Carry a pump, tube, puncture repair kit and tyre levers so you can get going again quickly if you have a flat tyre, or a mobile phone to call for assistance.
- Carry a water bottle for longer rides, especially in the warmer months.
- Check that your tyres are pumped up to the recommended air pressure; this should be stamped on the sidewall of the tyre.
- Check that your gears, brakes and lights are working well. If you're unsure how to do this your local bike shop or community cycling organisation can help out.
- Plan your route before you start your trip. Contact your local council or community cycling organisation for details of local cycle paths and maps.
- Check that your workplace has shower or change facilities, lockers and somewhere secure to store bicycles. If not, talk with your employer and colleagues about the possibility of installing them.
Now it’s time to start cycling and enjoy the rewards.
- Take advantage of changed circumstances such as moving to a new home or work location to try cycling.
- Start easy - you only have to ride as fast and far as you want to. Gradually increase your pace and the distance you travel.
- Take care when cycling. Make sure you scan the road, show common sense and courtesy, and ride defensively.
Cyclists share the road with cars and other road users so staying safe is a priority. Know and obey road rules as they apply to cyclists.
- Always wear a helmet – it’s the law. Your helmet must also meet the Australian / New Zealand Standards.
- Use lights and reflectors (back and front) so you can see and be seen. Wear bright reflective clothing for maximum visibility. Turn on your lights at night or when visibility is poor.
- Dress for the conditions – keep warm in winter and protect yourself from the sun in warmer months.
- Keep your bike maintained. Check your tyres, brakes and gears regularly - you can do this yourself, pay a bike shop to service it for you, or contact your local community cycling organisation for information on maintenance courses.
- Don’t forget a water bottle.
Connecting with other cyclists and tracking your personal progress are great ways to keep motivated.
- Meeting up with and riding with other cyclists can help keep up your enthusiasm. You may even make some new friends. Talk to other cyclists from your work, university or social group or join a cycling group.
- Contact your local cycling club or community cycling organisation to find out what’s happening in your area. Join in local, regional and national cycling events like Ride to Work Day.
- Track your progress. A cycle computer is handy to work out the time, distance and average speed of your trips. Celebrate your progress and achievements.
- Calculate how much pollution and money you’re saving by cycling.