tips Archives - The Bike Project

9 Top Cycling Tips for Newbies

New to cycling? Just getting back on the bike after a bit of a hiatus? Getting back into cycling may be like, well, riding a bike, but getting a refresher is always good.

Here are our Claire’s top tips for staying safe and confident on your two-wheeler.

  1. Take up space in the road: make yourself big! Being assertive and being seen is one of the most important things to remember on the road.
  2. Make sure you don’t cycle in the gutter; it’s got the most debris in it which leads to more visits from the puncture fairy, is has the worst road surface, and the highest risk of collision with pedestrians who step out into the road while updating their Facebook status.
  3. Leave a car door’s width, plus a little bit when cycling past parked or otherwise stationary cars. Remember the rhyme “a car door and a little bit more.”
  4. Avoid going down the left hand side of vehicles, especially big ones like lorries. Manoeuvres like this cause many accidents and, sadly, deaths – lorries have more blind spots than you can imagine so err on the side of caution.
  5. If you’re in a traffic jam and you’re filtering, make sure you have enough time to do it safely before the lights change.
  6. If you’re in a traffic jam and you’re not filtering, pretend you’re a car and sit in the middle of the lane so no one can squish you into the curb when the traffic starts moving.
  7. If you’re feeling wobbly or nervous don’t be afraid to get off and push!
  8. TFL offer free cycle training for all people – from families, those new to cycling to old hands wanting some assertiveness and advanced tips. Find it all here.
  9. LCC run a great mix of family friendly and more experienced/fast rider group rides, as well as listing free Dr Bikes and other cycling events. Find out more here.
Ridgeback bike

Stu’s Top 5 Tips for Buying a Second Hand Bike

Stu is one of our bike wizards. He’s worked with bikes for over ten years now, so he really knows his stuff when it comes to buying a second hand one. Have a look at his top 5 tips below to make sure you avoid the rust buckets and get something great.

Of course the easiest way to avoid being sold a dud is by buying your bike through the Bike Project Shop. All our second hand bikes have been fixed up to tip top condition by Stu and our other mechanics, and 100% of the proceeds go towards keeping the Bike Project running.

 

1) First things first

Check the frame and wheels first. If you can see cracks or lots of rust on the frame, that’s a big warning sign and it’s probably not worth it. Give the wheels a spin. A little bit of a wobble is fine, but they shouldn’t be rubbing the brake pads.

2) Chain reaction

One of the most expensive parts to replace is the drive chain and sprockets. Check these are in good nick by touching the teeth on the sprockets. If they feel sharp, or they have a shark fin profile, it means the chain has worn out.

3) False alarms

Bike a bit grubby? Rusty cabling? Make sure you’re not missing out on a diamond in the rough by dismissing things that can be easily fixed. Seats, handlebar grips, brake pads and cabling are all easily replaceable, and a bit of mud or oil is nothing an old rag can’t fix.

4) Ask questions

You’ll learn a lot from the seller. When was the bike last serviced? How old is it? Was it used as a communal bike? This last one is a big red flag – if a house full of people have been using it, it’s probably not worth buying now.

5) Is it registered?

Check if the bike is already owned by someone by going to the bike register website. Look under the bike frame to find a framed code and type it in at the website. If it’s reported lost or stolen, it’ll say.

To check the person selling you the bike is the registered owner, ask them to log into their account there and then to show you their registration. Remember to then ask them to transfer the registration to you, as you can’t register the same bike twice.

 

Bonus tip:

Come to the workshop to volunteer. The best way to learn how to look after your bike is to learn to fix up our donated ones.

Find all of our second hand bikes for sale in the Bike Project Shop.

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Jem and Silla

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