If you’re a key worker in Cardiff, there’s never been a better time to start getting around by bicycle. The roads are quiet, you’re in your own space and the exercise will help to keep your head clear.
However, if you are new to commuting by bike you may be wondering where to start. Fortunately, we’ve been sharing our tips and experiences for a few years now and have accumulated a wealth of information to help you.
Choosing a bicycle
If you don’t currently have a bicycle, you may be wondering what sort to choose. There are many different types, all with subtle variations that may make a big difference to your comfort and enjoyment. Fortunately we have a post to help you called Choosing the right bike for commuting, which is probably a good place to start.
If you know what sort of bicycle you are looking for, we have a list of the bike shops where you can buy something new, or the workshops where you can be something pre-loved.
Keeping your bicycle
It’s unfortunate, but bicycle thieves are among us. Nobody wants to return to the bike stands to find theirs missing, so we need to be prepared. A good lock (preferably two) will help protect your bicycle from opportunist thieves and keep you riding.
Bike locks are rated by Sold Secure according to how strong they are. As a rule, spend 10% of the value of your bike on a lock –so a £1000 bike needs a £100 lock, however this is a crude rule that place monetary value at the top. We would argue that you spend according to how much you love your bike and want to keep it. There’s no shame in having a £60 lock on a £60 clunker!
We have some tips on Securing your bike…
We also have some more tips on More on bike security…
There’s also a recommended lock or two over on our Essentials page.
Choosing a route
So, you’ve got your bike, great. Now, how do you get to work? Cyclestreets is a great mapping tool that’ll give you a number of options to try depending on how adventurous you are feeling.
It breaks routes down into fastest, quietest, plus a balanced route that lands somewhere between the two.
Alternatively, drop us a line on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll get the hive mind onto it.
Parking your bicycle
A while ago we reached out to Cardiff & Vale University Health Board. They kindly provided us with the bike parking locations for the University Hospital of Wales and Llandough Hospital.
A while back we embarked on a project to map the locations of bike stands around Cardiff. Whilst we haven’t done much on it lately, the information is contained within OpenStreetMap and is still available.
Pick a good, solid stand and lock your bike through the back wheel and frame. If you have a second lock, the weaker of the two can be used to secure your front wheel (the back one is the more expensive, more complicated one).
Under no circumstances should you lock your bike with a cable lock. They can be cut really easily and are more likely to attract thieves than deter them. You can buy them for about £15, but please don’t, they’re useless.
Maintaining Your Bicycle
Let’s face it, anything made of metal, with numerous moving parts is going to require some maintenance from time to time.
Under lockdown, bike shops, workshops and cycle cafes (which have workshops) are still open for repairs. Sustrans has a tremendous map of all the open bike shops across the UK here.
However, we have some maintenance tips here for some of the jobs we’ve attempted ourselves. If someone out there would like to have a go at writing up some more maintenance tips we’d be happy to publish them. There’s also a range of more general tips here. The Global Cycling Network has a huge playlist of maintenance videos here too:
Renting a bicycle
It’s understandable that you may not be ready to invest in your own bicycle at this stage. Fortunately, Cardiff has an excellent hire scheme provided by Nextbike.
We’ve written a getting-started guide for Nextbike here. We know there are stations in UHW; some not too far from the CRI, but best you check out the map here.
Whilst a bicycle is no doubt important, it doesn’t really do a lot without a fully functioning human sat astride it. We need to make sure you are OK, so it would be remiss of us to not point you in the direction of resources that are available.
- The Welsh Government has been working to provide advice and guidance to health professionals across the health and social care sectors, which you can find here.
- All of the legislation that has been passed in Wales in response to COVID-19 can be found here.
- Welsh Government guidance on leaving home to exercise can be found here.
- Public Health Wales has a new COVID-19 wellness campaign, which you can find information about here.
- The Public Health Wales data dashboard is here (or the mobile version is here).
- Cycling UK is offering three months of membership to NHS staff. Membership provides a host of benefits including liability insurance. You can find out more here.
Have we missed anything?
If there’s anything you’d like us to add, please feel free to drop us a line below, or on the social media channels.
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