How to Ride Your Bike & Commute in the City


1. Don’t be timid

View this photo on Instagram You’re in a heavily congested, chaotic city where everyone has somewhere to be and they ned to be there now, now, now, goddammit. You’re gonna have to fight for your space on the road, and swerving around the bike lane in fear of traffic is only going to make things more dangerous for the cyclists behind you. Confident riding means you’ll just keep pedalin’ in harmony with the flow of traffic.

8. Carry deodorant, face wipes, and possibly an extra t-shirt

View this photo on Instagram Throw out your hopes and dreams of casually cruising to a party and arriving looking polished and glamorous. You’ll sweat off your makeup and your colleagues will ask if you jumped in a pool before showing up anywhere. You may also notice, after 13 consecutive blocks behind the same damn bus, that you’re breathing exhaust… and getting it all up in your pores. Do yourself, and your complexion, a favor and freshen up with a face wipe.


What riding kit do I need and how much should I spend?

You can get fully kitted out with riding kit for as little as £300, but you can spend a lot more if you want. If you’re commuting, go for waterproof textiles and as a rough rule of thumb, the more you spend, the further you’ll be able to ride in pouring rain.

Sportsbike riders will be best off in full leathers, but many more classically-styled and street bike riders choose a leather jacket and jeans. Fully CE-approved denim jeans with an abrasion-resistant lining and armour can cost as little as £120… less than some people spend on fashion jeans, while safe boots designed for riding can look as good as Nike and Adidas high tops, yet cost a similar price.

For reviews of the best scooter and motorcycle riding kit, click here.

4) The Sights

When you’re on the underground, during rush

When you’re on the underground, during rush hour, with an accountant’s elbow wedged against your ribcage and a legal secretary’s face buried in your armpit…it’s not the best (especially if you’re the legal secretary with her face buried in your armpit).

You’ll look around the carriage and see only disgruntled commuters. You might try to read your book, but it’s not happening. No way. Not when you’re the filling in a human sandwich. Visually, it’s a pile of unwashed pants; some adverts, the underground maps you know by heart, and a load of unhappy human faces.

Surely there has to be something better than this? Surely there’s a way to travel across London above ground and see nice buildings, nice parks, and all-round niceties along the way? Well, old sport, of course there is. Cycling! Cycling across London means you’ll actually, shocking newsflash alert, get to look at the city itself.

Underground? Pah. You’re a person, not a badger.

What You Can Do to Enhance Your Mountain Bike Ride in the City?

The best thing that you can do enhance your ride is to setup your bike for your ride like all other times.

What do I mean by that?  Knowing you’ll have to ride over bumps and drops up to about a foot, you’ll want to have approximately 3-4 inches of front suspension play.  However, ideally you want zero suspension play in the rear-end.  That is so that you spend your energy pushing the bike forward and not dealing with a bouncing rear (either the bikes or yours lol).

Many of the current mountain bikes that do have a rear suspension have a rear suspension lockout.  This means that you can either set how much suspension travel it has, or even better take out all suspension travel.

While you will feel it in the rear of the bike if you hit a pothole, having the limited suspension in the front means that the pothole won’t send you careening off in another direction and having an accident.  A front suspension will absorb the pothole and won’t affect your path.  That is absolutely critical in urban riding.

Looking at wheels, you have some choices.  I would most definitely choose a 29 inch wheel for the bike.  Bigger wheels can handle road issues easier and can roll up over curbs with less effort.

Last but definitely not least, be prepared.  I made a list of the 12 essential mountain bike gear items that you should always have on you so that you can handle situations like flat tires or a mechanical failure. If you plan to ride your bike nearly everyday, then you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared in the event of a bike issue.

2. Wear Comfortable Clothes

You can use knee and elbow protectors, which will Keep in mind that you may fall the first time you go on a bike ride and you don’t want to ruin your clothes.

You can use knee and elbow protectors, which will decrease the risk of injury. Make sure not to wear baggy shorts because if you fall, they might get tangled around the saddle and make things even worse.

Also, you should be wearing shoes that will offer at least some protection for your feet. Avoid riding a bike in sandals.

Finally, you should not wear loose trousers as they can also get stuck between the chainrings. If you have no other options, always make sure to tuck them inside the socks!

5. Go on a Bike Ride!

Now I’ll teach you how I quickly learned to ride aThere are two ways for adults to learn and one for children.

Now I’ll teach you how I quickly learned to ride a bike.

Will my bike get stolen?

Motorcycles and scooters tend to have a steering lock and an immobiliser as standard, but these can be defeated. Fortunately, despite what social media would have you believe, using even a basic bit of extra security like a £40 disc lock can make your powered two-wheeler three times less likely to be stolen. Lock it up with a heavy duty chain, and data shows that your neighbour’s car is more likely to be stolen.

To find out more about motorcycle and scooter security, click here.

How to learn with a rear brake?

Try to use the rear braking at the beginning. Ride for 10 mph and stop with mediate braking to your destined point. Try again if you stop late or soon. The best performance of braking is when you don’t skid.

How to brake with front gears?

When you brake with the front brake your body might move you forward. To avoid this you might want a smooth braking technique. you can use rear brakes in most cases, however, for shorter distances use front brakes only.

Make use of the front brake when you are riding your bike slowly. When it is working smoothly try to make a turn.

Throttle and Brakes

tillsonburg / Getty Images

When riding a motorcycle, your right hand is responsible for two crucial functions: acceleration and braking. By twisting the grip toward you (so that your wrist moves down), you apply the throttle. A little twist goes a long way, so be delicate with this control because revving the engine can lead to instability or cause the front wheel to leave the pavement.

Your right hand also controls the front brakes, whose lever is located in front of the throttle, much like on a bicycle. Smoothness is crucial here as well. Yank the brake lever too hard, and the front brakes can lock up, causing the bike to skid and even crash. Though most brake levers only require two fingers to operate, some require you to use your entire hand. Your right foot, meanwhile, controls the rear brake.

Which brake is the best to use? Safety experts say that, in most situations, gently applying the rear brake first, then easing off and slowly applying the front brake is the most effective means of stopping. But braking safely also depends on the kind of bike you’re riding. If you’re on a sport bike, you may be able to get away with just using your front brake most of the time. If you’re on a heavy cruiser, you’ll rely more on your rear brake.

Warming Up the Engine

Basem Wasef

The practice of warming up car engines has largely become obsolete, but warming up a motorcycle engine is still a crucial part of the riding ritual, particularly when a bike is carbureted. Doing so ensures that the engine will provide smooth, consistent power as you begin your ride. You should idle for anywhere from 45 seconds to several minutes, depending on factors such as ambient temperature, engine displacement, and oil capacity. Use the temperature gauge as a general guide, and avoid revving the engine.

7) Its Quicker

Stuck in the car, crawling down the road an inch a

Stuck in the car, crawling down the road an inch at a time, or speeding past traffic on your very own pedal-powered-speed machine. Which way’s quicker? Held at a red signal for 20 minutes, on a crowded commuter train in the middle of summer, or speeding past the train station on your very own pedal-powered-speed-machine. Which way’s faster? You get the idea.

The top speed of bicycles compared with the top of speed of cars and trains might make you think that cars and trains will get you places quicker. When it comes to a congested capital city like London, however, the reality of time it takes to cover distances is often completely different to what you might expect.

When the popular motor show Top Gear raced a car, a bicycle, a boat, and various public transport across London the winner was, to the dismay of presenter Jeremy Clarkson, the bicycle (by a comfortable margin). Something to think about next time you need to get across London in the speediest time possible.

Highway Riding

Cycling on high-speed roads requires extra caution. Avoid it if you can, but if you must, follow these rules:

  • Stay as far right as you can, using the paved shoulder whenever possible.
  • Check behind yourself frequently and listen for approaching cars. To make this easier, wear a helmet-mounted or eyeglass-mounted mirror.
  • Brace yourself for passing vehicles (especially large trucks or other wide vehicles) by gripping your handlebars firmly, lowering your body to lessen wind resistance and moving as far to the right as possible.
  • Keep in mind that the wind from passing vehicles tends to “pull” cyclists forward and toward the passing vehicle.

Reminder: Just because you’re on a bike, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be cited for a traffic violation. Follow the rules of the road.

Apply for REI Co-op Mastercard®

  • Earn a $100 REI Gift Card when you apply, get approved and make any purchase within 60 days of card approval. Details

  • Have it? Manage your card