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How to cycle
24-10-2011, 09:02 PM (This post was last modified: 25-10-2011 08:58 PM by Mark.)
Post: #1
How to cycle
I'm currently putting together an instructional video on how to/not to cycle. Every day I see people in York almost kill themselves somehow on bikes... Some cyclists are just arseholes and don't obey the law, but some are genuinely in the dark about how to ride and where. Seeing as I'm doing this in my spare time, I'll post the results on here as well.

Part 1: Road positioning and using a cycle lane.

Road positioning
There are three common road positions in cycling; Primary, Secondary and Strong Secondary

Primary is when you ride in the middle of the lane, sometimes to discourage overtaking in an inappropriate place, sometimes because you're at a speed where you think you could keep up with the flow of traffic.

Secondary is the standard, recommended position for cyclists to be, 3ft (1m) from the kerb or the left hand side of the lane of traffic. The reason that 3ft is recommended is because most manhole covers and obstacles are less than 3ft out from the kerb. The area nearer the kerb also tends to be dirtier and have more sharp objects in the way, so losing control and getting a puncture are more common in this area.
The other reason secondary is a good position to be in, is so you have some sort of escape route should someone overtake you too close. Someone could very easily clip your handlebars and send you flying, but with somewhere to dive towards should someone come too close, you're less likely to come a cropper.
Personally I leave secondary position at 13mph into a stronger position.

Strong secondary is where you're not quite with the flow of traffic, but you don't fancy being overtaken.

Cycle lanes
Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT a legal requirement to use the cycle lane. In fact, many councils discourage it if you feel unsafe using one or exceed 18mph on a regular basis. There are a few scenarios where using a cycle lane is a bad idea regardless of your skill level, and this series of videos explains all of them. Apologies in advance, some of the videos need re-recording but you get a basic idea.

When not to use the cycle lane

Part 2: things to avoid

ILLEGAL: Salmon Cyclists
Other than the above cycle lanes, you should always stick to the left hand side of the road in the UK. Salmon (against the flow of traffic) cyclists are unexpected on the roads and are likely to be overlooked and hit by an oncoming car. Going the wrong way (anti-clockwise) around a roundabout also comes under this.

ILLEGAL: the Red Light Jump (RLJ)
This should be obvious, but jumping red lights is illegal, and also highly dangerous. Maybe it gets you there quicker, but will it get you there in one piece? Trust me when I say, getting hit by a bus that never saw you hurts. Bad.

ILLEGAL: Pavement cycling
Contrary to popular belief, if you're over the age of 10, it is illegal to ride a bike on the pavement (though you can't be fined for it until 16 years old). Many people do this if they are afraid of the road they are cycling down, in which case I'd recommend sticking in primary position until you feel safe again.

Undertaking (overtaking on the inside)
Yes, plenty of cycle lanes go on the inside (left hand side) of traffic, and most of the time this is harmless. However it's usually safer to filter on the outside of traffic. Some car drivers do not check their mirrors before setting off, and you could easily wind up in the blind spot of a lorry or a bus.
The blind spot is the space where a lorry or bus can't see you. This maybe down the inside of their vehicle, or in front of them, underneath their cab, or in any number of places. The video below is a perfect example. All credits go to CyclingMikey on Youtube for recording this.




The door zone
Imagine you're going along the road at a decent speed, and someone opens their car door in your way (because they haven't checked their mirrors... shock horror, it happens). There's traffic behind you so you can't swerve or you'll end up underneath them and there's a large metal car door coming towards you at a decent speed.
Scary stuff, and people have died before now because of being hit by doors. The ideal distance is 5ft between your left side and a parked car, this being roughly how far most car doors open.

Part 3: Popular Misconceptions
"You HAVE to use the cycle lane"
No, actually, you don't. Cycle lanes CAN be beneficial to use if you're not experienced, but in reality it's not always feasible to follow the cycle lane. A good example of this is if a cycle lane is left turn only and you want to go right or straight on. It's much better to take a primary position if you're unsure.

"Cars pay road tax (and/or) insurance, cyclists don't"
Believe it or not, they don't. Road Tax was abolished by Winston Churchill in 1937, so people didn't have any claim to ownership of the road. What they pay on their cars is "vehicle excise duty", which is basically an emissions tax (which cyclists have the same emissions as pedestrians... practically zero, so we're exempt).
As for insurance, it's readily avaliable by joining any cycling clubs, British Cycling does a year's third party insurance and liability cover (and membership) for £24/year.

Part 4: Equipment
Eventually you will need equipment and accessories, especially if you are using the bike on a daily basis or for longer rides out (20 miles+)

Visibility (and being heard)
Now, being on the road at night, you WILL need a set of lights (it's illegal to ride without them before dawn and after dusk). I use a set of Lunar 25 Lux lights, but your local bike shop will be able to give a good idea of useful lights.
If you just want to adhere to the law, then a set of cheap lights will work fine, however it's a good idea to get a set of lights to actually be seen with. I recommend getting two sets of lights, because if one set dies you have the others on as a backup.
In the daytime, using a bright, hi viz vest is also more likely to get you noticed than wearing plain, dark clothes. There are plenty of places that sell Hi Vis vests for cheap, and there's nothing wrong with customising them a little. As long as they have the same effect.

Eventually, you're probably going to want something to let people know you're coming. Bells and horns are a good addition to any bike, though 9/10 times shouting has the same effect.

Security
It's recommended that you spend at least 10% of the cost of your bike on a decent lock or two, for example if you've spent £200 on a bike, £20 is a good price point to look at spending on a lock. It's a good idea to use two different locks on a bike, as thieves are rarely equipped with the tools to get through both locks. This, and most thieves will look at a bike with two locks on it and not even think about taking it.
Another aspect is the quick release wheels and saddles you often get on newer bikes. Many people lock their bikes up, but only by the frame. Locking the wheels to the same thing the frame is locked to stops them being stolen, and means you're not going to be riding home without a front wheel (at least of your saddle goes walkies, you're only going to get home with a sore bottom). Another option is getting a new skewer set to replace the quick release set. Of course this means you'll need a set of tools to remove the wheels, and we'll cover that later.
Another addition I have is my headcam, which records my commute, so should anything happen to me or my bike, there's video evidence to prove it wasn't my fault. I cover anything up to 20 miles a day though, so it wouldn't be a worthy investment for those who were just nipping to the shops and back.

Tools and spares
ALWAYS carry some spares and tools with you. You could be left stranded miles from home with a flat tyre and no way to get your wheel off your bike. The basics I recommend are a multitool, a teaspoon, at least one inner tube (preferably two though), some cable ties, duck tape, a first aid kit and a bottle of water.
If something goes wrong, you can fettle almost anything together from the cable ties and duck tape. Puncture repair kits are OK for a flat, but they won't necessarily last, and it's usually more cost effective (and safer) to just use a new innertube, the teaspoon being for making a cuppa on the move, or for using the handle end to lift your tyre off the rim. The multitool is good for a quick fix to get you home (though, most don't have tyre levers, hence the teaspoon).
The first aid kit is self-explanatory, and the bottle of water not only serves as a quick refreshing drink, but it's also good for sterilising cuts and bruises.

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25-10-2011, 01:18 AM
Post: #2
RE: How to cycle
lol, in that video, "dude, don't go down there.." he sees the truck would of crushed him and then... at the next opportunity he goes and does it!


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25-10-2011, 03:38 AM (This post was last modified: 25-10-2011 03:44 AM by CrazyT.)
Post: #3
RE: How to cycle
"When to re-record all videos with the new camera.."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y_bPhbZn...40&lf=plpp

What is that, and why is it in your playlist!?

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25-10-2011, 04:21 AM
Post: #4
RE: How to cycle
(24-10-2011 09:02 PM)bigsharn Wrote:  Mcompute regulars - If you don't like me posting this here then take it up with Mark and just don't comment.

Ah, fuck it Meatloaf. Post what you like. At least it is informative, if you drive on the wrong side of the road at least. I really like safety lessons that show someone getting destroyed though over close calls for future reference.

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25-10-2011, 09:52 AM
Post: #5
RE: How to cycle
(25-10-2011 03:38 AM)Drumm Wrote:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y_bPhbZn...40&lf=plpp

What is that, and why is it in your playlist!?

It's someone else's video, explained below.

(25-10-2011 04:21 AM)Pack3t SynAck3r Wrote:  ...I really like safety lessons that show someone getting destroyed though over close calls for future reference.

It's funny you should mention that actually, the video that Drumm linked was removed for being shocking and disgusting... It was someone getting doored. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5u4eRbpPJUY but with actual impact.)

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