Interested to try commuting to work by cycling, or perhaps you have already started? Move Happy invites Gerald Lee, author of cyclist blog, justkeepcycling, to share 5 key tips to help you have a safe and smooth trip – kickstarting a terrific day at the office!
Tip #1: Remember safety takes top priority
When cycling, always be conscious of your safety and that of others as complacency can lead to accidents. Observe the following precautions to minimise risk and to stay safe.
Educate yourself on safe cycling techniques and habits. Cycling in Singapore presents a unique set of safety considerations – so make sure you are well-equipped and aware. For the free and easy way, I recommend downloading the free online guidebook from the Land Transport Authority (LTA), called the Safe Riding Programme. They will also be launching a fully subsidised 90-min practical session soon, where you can practice safety skills before hitting the roads.
Ensure you have the necessary safety gear. For safety purposes, the following items are must-haves: a helmet to protect your head, front white and rear red lights, and brightly coloured clothing to increase your visibility to other road users. You can also consider installing a bell to politely alert others of your approach. Refer to this article on essential safety gear for more information.
Tip #2: Plan for the work day; not just for the journey
As a bicycle commuter, remember that your ride to work is but one part of your regular work day.
For example, if your work requires you to dress formally, remember to pack your formal attire (preferably one that is wrinkle-free), and find shower facilities to freshen up when you arrive at your destination. If you need to travel to various places for meetings on particular days, plan your meetings such that you end up at the same venue where you parked your bicycle. Alternatively, opt for any of the affordable bicycle-sharing services for extra convenience. If you are cycling to work during the day time and home after dusk, make sure you have bicycle lights for the return journey.
Tip #3: Be prepared for wet weather
Given the unpredictable nature of Singapore’s weather especially during the monsoon season, you want to make sure that a sudden downpour will not disrupt your ride or your day at work. Even if it rains, you will still need to arrive on time with your work attire, laptop and documents dry.
To be prepared, waterproof your bags. For instance, use rain covers, line the inside of your bags with plastic bags or trash bags, and take added measures to ensure you are visible to other road users! There is much to talk about on the topic of cycling safely and comfortably in the rain: read our full article to make sure you are well-prepared!
Tip #4: Carry a basic bike toolkit, pump and spare tubes
Proponents of Murphy’s Law will agree that it is good to always be prepared for the worst. So expect issues like a punctured tire, misaligned brakes, jammed shifters, etc. Carry a basic toolkit, spare tubes (or at least a tube patch kit), and a hand pump on the go. After all, your boss isn’t going to care that you cycled to work and had a nail in the tire – he’d still expect to see you at work on time.
Also, educate yourself on the basic necessities of bicycle mechanics, such as how to change a blown tire, how to adjust brake cables and callipers, etc. There are plenty of great videos on YouTube offering step-by-step tutorials on how to do these things, so be sure to familiarise yourself and be prepared!
Tip #5: Budget ample time for the journey, in case of “surprises”
This applies to both new commuter cyclists and veterans. Give yourself additional time for the ride to and from the office – in case you get lost, need to remedy a bicycle fault, or just want to exert yourself less on way to work.
Last but not least, take the time to enjoy the sights that your cycling journey has to offer. After all, cycling to work is a convenient way of incorporating some form of exercise in your daily routine while reducing your carbon footprint, one pedal at a time.
justkeepcycling is an online community focusing on a lifestyle of commuting by bicycle. It hopes to pioneer a shift in mindset pertaining to transportation – by presenting the bicycle as a viable, practical, smart, green, cheap, trendy, fun and healthy alternative to the bus, train and car.