Starting out cycling

Getting pedalling couldn’t be easier. All you need is a bike and a desire to ride. There’s no need for special clothes or expensive equipment.

Practice

There are many areas you can practice your cycling away from traffic in Warwickshire. You could try hiring a bike from one of the hire shops in Warwickshire before you buy.

Off road family cycling is available at our Country Parks.

The National Cycle Network is a comprehensive network of safe and attractive routes to cycle and walk throughout the UK. About a third of the network consists of traffic-free paths and the remainder follows quiet lanes or traffic-calmed roads.

There are also several different cycle routes available across Warwickshire.

Bikes

If you have an old bike, it may just needĀ dusting off or a service at a local bike shop. If you’re buying a new bike there are several types:

  • Folding bike – great for taking on public transport, or you don’t have parking at home or work.
  • Hybrid bike – more practical than a racing bike but lighter than a mountain bike.
  • Racing bike – these are light and fast but thin tyres means more punctures.
  • Mountain bike – robust but a full suspension bike may be too heavy and slow for the road.
  • Retro bikes – a fashionable way to get around town.

Alternative Bikes

Cycling is not for everyone, but sometimes it’s about considering alternative types of bikes that might make cycling more feasible – especially for families with children, or people who don’t feel fit enough to rely 100% on their own energy. Please note: we are not recommending or endorsing these bikes, we are just highlighting them for your consideration.

If you are a bike shop and offer an ‘alternative’ bike which you would like us to include here, please get in touch with us at:tpu@warwickshire.gov.uk.

Cost

How much you spend is up to you. You don’t need to have an expensive bike to cycle around Warwickshire. The low cost option is to buy a good quality secondhand bike from a project like the Recycle Warehouse.

Get comfortable on your bike

Make sure your bike is the right size and that the seat is not too low or it will slow you down. Make sure your tyres are fully pumped up for a smooth ride. Ask your bike shop if you need help with these.

Clothes and helmet

You don’t need any special clothing for cycling, normal clothes are fine. You can even ride to work in a suit if you don’t go too mad.

  • Bright reflective clothing or strips make you easier to see.
  • Wearing gloves is an easy way to keep cycling comfy. We recommend fingerless gloves for summer and wind-resistant for winter.
  • You don’t have to wear a helmet by law but many people choose to wear one. Make sure your helmet fits properly.

Cycle training

The road safety team offer training to adults wishing to start or return to cycling. They tailor courses to the individual and situation. They can also give group training to build confidence cycling on the road

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Cycle routes

Town cycle maps are available for Warwick and Leamington, Stratford, Rugby and Nuneaton. Coventry City Council also produce a cycle map of Coventry. There are also several different cycle routes available across Warwickshire, but if you want to find the best journey door to door, use the cycle planner. The whole of the road network is available to cyclists and so you can plan your journeys to suit yourself. Take a look on a road map, there are often quieter streets that can be used to avoid the busy main roads. Look for:

  • Quiet roads
  • Low speed limits
  • B,C or unclassified roads
  • Parks, open spaces and rights of way where cycling is allowed
  • Bus lanes
  • Canal tow paths

Avoid (unless they have cycle provision):

  • Dual carriageways
  • Busy intersections
  • Big roundabouts
  • Long steep hills!

Take a practice run to check the route on a quieter day, e.g. Sunday.


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