September is 'back to school' month. The nights start to draw in, the gloves have come out for the morning cycle commute and summer holidays suddenly feel like distant memories. But it's not all doom and gloom! September is also a good time for fresh starts and we'll be embracing this 'give it a go' attitude with a series of 'beginner's guides' over the next few weeks.
This week we're getting some advice on cycle commuting from our most committed two-wheeled commuter: our designer Sam.
Sam has been a Bromptoner ever since he started his previous job. Commuting daily from London to somewhere near Coventry, Sam needed a way of getting to Euston station quickly and then from Coventry station to his office at the other end. After nailing a speedy (11 seconds to be precise) fold and unfold routine, Sam was able to shave valuable time off of his trip (but did often end up cutting it so fine that he would cycle along the platform)!
Nowadays his commutes are slightly shorter and less hairy as he cycles from North London to our office in the South East: Bermondsey. Now that cycle commuting has become a habit he does it pretty much every day come rain, shine, or winter darkness. Only when he has had a few beers, or anticipate having a few beers, does he settle for the confines of an overcrowded tube carriage.
Sam's Top Tips
1. Get yourself a good helmet. Safety first, people! With his slick black Thousand helmet he doesn't have to sacrifice style for safety either. It even comes with a D-bar hole to lock it to his bike. Simples.
2. Hi-vis jackets are great for being spotted during the winter. Sam has a Pro-viz jacket which lights up like a Christmas tree under a car headlight but also looks relatively normal under normal light. Win-win. Kate recommends the Mountain Warehouse jacket if you're after something more budget.
3. Lights! Under all of the street lights in the city, they don't need to be the brightest of lights, but battery life is key. Sam is a fan of his Lezynes but the rest of the team has backed Beryl's new Laserlight Core and Burner Brake combo set.
4. Sort yourself out with some cycling gloves as the mornings get crisper. Everyone has a different preference: with fingers or without? Warm and fleecy, or thin and smooth?
5. Keep a towel and some shower gel at the office. Most days Sam manages to keep cool enough to not need a shower on arrival but it is always good to have the option.
6. Try lots of routes. There will likely be lots of ways to get to and from the office. Set waypoints at different nice places (perhaps a cycle path through the park) and let your Beeline think of the best route between them. Sometimes adding an extra 5 minutes can double the enjoyability.
7. Keep on top of bike maintenance. Sam is very on it when it comes to bike maintenance and never has a problem. If you're commuting every day, take your bike in for a service once every six months, and keep your tyres pumped up in between. Sam recommends Schwalbe Marathon tyres. He has never had a puncture!
There you have it! Check in again next week for the next activity in our series: track cycling.