The 'Beginner Series' - Starting Cycling

 So after my weekend in Switzerland I've come home focused, motivated and determined to go travel on my own. Unfortunately money doesn't grow on tree's so I've made some serious budget decisions and one of them is to start commuting to work. I thought this edition of The 'Beginner Series' could be a little different from the previous running post's and talk how I'm getting ready to cycle in London. 

I've been really lucky that I have some friends who are basically cycling pro's. Jess has her own cycling blog (she featured on The Beginner Series before in the first post talking running trainers) and Adrian is the resident bike expert/handyman amongst my friends.When I knew I wanted to invest in a bike - and had no clue where to start - I asked Jess and Adrian what the best brand bikes were for beginner cyclists and they recommended I look at Boardman's.

Where to start? - I googled Boardman bikes. I wasn't 100% sure whether to go with a pure road bike or a hybrid and I think it depends on who you speak to, their preferences and their motivations for cycling for which one they would recommend. According to Halfords the bike I bought "
combines the speed of a road bike but with the advantage of a flat handlebar, allowing for a more comfortable, confident riding position, making this bike perfect for commuters, leisure riders and fitness fanatics alike".

Cost -  I pondered on the price for about a week. Bikes cheap so I sat and debated whether I was able to part with £400 big ones for a bike I'd seen or whether I bought from Halfords on finance. ARGH Finance!! Ok knee-jerk reaction out the way ; Halfords offers 0% finance as you spread the cost of your bike over 12 months. No deposit, no nominal fee at the end of your terms just a standard default fee if you miss a month. This felt way less painful for me (i'm trying to save cash remember?) so i'll be paying about £30 a month for the next 11 months and then this baby's mine - no strings attached and no lump pay out.

Safety and Accessories - When you're cycling anywhere but ESPECIALLY in London safety is the one. Accessories I bought; a helmet (A MUST), lights (A MUST), D-Lock (Not necessarily a must but pretty highly recommended if you want to keep your bike) and I already have high vis clothing, absolutely A MUST as we head into Autumn and the evenings are getting darker earlier. I've held off getting mud guards just yet but i'm sure before October is over i'll be adding these to the bike. I'm such an inpatient person I just bought all this stuff at Halfords when I was picking up my bike but if you wanted to save cash ebay and amazon will save you monneyysss.

Maintenance -  As a total beginner I have no idea about maintenance of a bike. Because I bought from Halfords I automatically get a free '6 week check up' with them where they will check my breaks, re-pump my tires - I guess? I have no idea - but I also purchased their 
£20 care plan for the year. Any issues, maintenance or repairs needed and any labour costs are all included in that care package which I think is such a good deal. Over the year i'll learn more about my bike and the issues that can come up so i'll be more self-sufficient with maintenance issues going forward.

- Really obvious one but if you're buying to commute and like me you haven't sat on a road bike before you really should put in a couple of practice rides before you attempt your daily route. 
 I needed to practice cycling on main roads again because London is a scary place and under no circumstance am I risking my safety for my ego. My bike is SO light I just fly on it but being a road bike it doesn't have great suspension so them potholes break me. By doing a few practice runs I got a handle and a feel for the bike ahead of the 'big day'.

Insurance - Unfortunately theft is a reality of cycling and I'm researching whether to take out specific bike insurance or how I go about adding it to my contents insurance. Whilst i'm deciding my friend Chris told me about BikeRegister. If you register your bike with them and its stolen the police can identify its yours and you can purchase stickers as a deterrent telling would-be thieves that your bike is registered. In terms of insurance BikeRegister are partnered with CyclePlan and when you register you get 4 weeks free cycle insurance.

FINAL TIP : As a beginner cyclist, go slow on the roads. Don't be a hero. 

If you have any tips or advice for me (remember - i'm a beginner too) or any questions then please feel free to comment on here or on Twitter or Facebook and i'll be sure to get back to you!

Until next time . . . Take Heart x 


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