Tips for riding for transportation

Read our tips for:

Shopping by bike 

Traveling by bike with your shopping or groceries can be super simple and you don’t need a lot of fancy kit. As you start to shop by bike more often you can make long-term investments in equipment, but you can start today!

To get started try and find a shop that’s on a route you already take, like to work or somewhere you frequently pass. This way it’s simple and quick to grab a few things on a ride you are already doing, reducing the need for bigger shops which are harder to carry on your bike.


Good - backpack


Wearing a backpack is a great way to increase the amount you can carry while riding your bike. It’s also far safer than carrying bags on your handlebars which can make steering very tricky and even be dangerous. Just put your backpack on, get on your bike, and head to the shops, it’s that simple.


Better - panniers or bungees


If you want to be able to carry more shopping by bike or start doing it more regularly, you could try installing a pannier/bike rack. This coupled with pannier bags or bungees will allow you to carry more and you will notice the weight less!

Pannier bags are large sack-like bags that easily clip on and off your rack. There are many types so you can choose one to suit the type of shopping you’re carrying, the weather you ride in, and your budget.

You can also use bungee cords or net to strap larger or bulky items to the top of your pannier rack. You’d be surprised what you can carry with these, just make sure they have been securely attached.



Best - cargo bike


Cargos bikes are made specifically to carry heavy loads or even extra people! The bikes vary in shape and size and can have two wheels or three. Cargo bikes generally have a longer wheelbase than a standard bicycle, with space for your shopping (or people) in the front or back.

Made it to the shops and back? Don’t forget to claim your Ride to the Shops badge!



Riding with kids

Riding with kids can seem daunting at first, after all, that’s precious cargo. First make sure you are confident at riding your bike, looking behind and steering with one hand so you can signal to other road users. Once you are feeling confident you can start bringing the kids along for the ride too.

If you want more guidance on getting confident take a look at our tips page.

Look up local training providers, they often have sessions for families. An expert cycling instructor can show you how to ride confidently with your children so you know where to position yourself and how to direct them calmly as you ride.


Good - bike seat


There is a range of seats for kids that attach directly to your bike. Front seats affect the handling of your bike less than rear seats but force you to ride bow-legged. That’s okay for short rides but can get uncomfortable for anything over a few miles.

Consider a seat that mounts onto the crossbar for younger kids - they get the view and also get used to seeing out front rather than staring into your back. As a parent/carer, it also feels much more natural and safer as they sit within your arms and upper body.

Whichever seat you chose, after fitting it to your bike take it for a test run to get used to the handling. Strap something heavy in the seat (like a sack of potatoes) so you know what it will feel like. Also, practice getting on and off your bike so you can do it without accidentally kicking your little passenger!


Better - trailer


Trailers are a great shout as your child gets older. They also give you extra capacity to carry other items like groceries. Trailers are very sturdy too, so you benefit from better bike handling. While a trailer might look very big, the majority of them fold flat so you don’t need a big garage to be able to store one.

Once your kid is a bit bigger you could switch the trailer for a tagalong. These look like half a bike plus a towing arm. Just remember to fit a fender or mudguard to your bike, as your little passenger is in the firing line!


Best - start young

Image: The Little Bike Company Ltd


Getting them confident on two wheels from a young age is a good start and balance bikes are the way to go here. Children can learn to balance as they learn to walk, so from age 1 up! For kids, it’s super helpful to have a light bike that is the right size for them, as they grow this can become an expensive task. Try looking at local hire schemes and kid’s bike subscriptions that allow you to easily replace their bike as they grow out of it.

Once you’ve been out for a ride with your kid(s) don’t forget to claim your Ride with Kids badge!



Commuting

Riding your bike to work is a great way to start your day. Riding home again is a bonus! Riding your bike can help wake up your brain and get some daily exercise into your routine without having to make time for it. Switching to a bike for your commute can seem complicated so here are some of our top tips. You can read more on our Riding to Work Tips.


Quick start


Getting to know your route is getting half the job of commuting by bike done. Plan your route in advance or ask co-workers who already ride which route they would take. This way you can figure out what you feel comfortable with and take advantage of their knowledge of quiet roads. Also, try riding your route to work at a quieter time, like on the weekend. This way you'll be more comfortable with the route to work.


Next

If your bike hasn’t had a service for a while, treat yourself and book it in for one. With all the money (and time) you’ll be saving by commuting on your bike, an annual service is going to be an easy decision to make. 



Buddying up can make the whole process seem less daunting. You could ask someone else who would like to ride to work, but hasn’t started yet, to join you on your commute. If somebody at work already rides in, and your routes could connect up, ask if you can join them. Either way having someone to ride with will make you feel more confident and add some accountability to help you stick to it as well.


Don’t forget to log your rides when you ride to work to unlock your commuter badges!



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