With the lockdown exercise guidelines, it is now more important than ever to be self-sufficient when riding alone. Let's look at how to do this so that you become the best independent rider you can be.
Being self-sufficient means staying on top of the condition of your bike and kit. As well as clothing, it’s also worth checking the safety of your vital ride kit. Make sure your helmet is safe and in good order by checking it for dents and scratches. If it’s covered in them, you may need a new helmet. There are also crucial bike checks to undertake, which include checking the tyres, wheels, brakes, gears and chain. For a more detailed pre-ride checklist, check out: 9 Things To Check Before Every Ride.
Even for a short local ride, there is some essential kit you must carry if you’re out cycling on your own: a small pump, two inner tubes, tyre levers, a multi tool, patches and of course water. It may seem like a lot, but you should be prepared for every eventuality, and it can all be packed down into your back pockets and/or a small saddle bag or even a converted water bottle. It’s also important to check the weather and prepare accordingly. At this time of year, you should take a pack down waterproof on every ride as you never know when you might get caught out, even if your most trusted weather app says otherwise.
The lockdown essentials
There are now more ride essentials than ever, especially when it comes to keeping hygienic. Of course, you should always take a mobile phone with you for safety purposes, but it’s doubly important now to let people know where you are. If you do find yourself hitting the wall when you’re out or you’ve forgotten crucial water and food, a supermarket will be your saving grace. But of course, there are now strict rules in place so take a face mask and a bank card in a zip up pocket just in case you need to make a diversion.
Now that you have your back pockets stuffed with the essential tools above, do you actually know how to use them? Skills like changing a tyre, using a chain tool and indexing your gears are crucial for any rider aiming to be self-sufficient. This way if your chain snaps mid-ride or you get an unfortunate puncture, your ride isn’t totally ruined. For advice on these key bits of bike maintenance, check out: 8 Maintenance Tips Every Cyclist Should Know.
Arguably the most important way to stay safe and self-reliant on the roads is by ensuring you’re visible. Keep your lights fully charged at all times so that you’re never caught out by low light. Even in broad daylight it’s important to ride with lights, especially when you’re on particularly busy sections of road. A powerful rear and front light combination will make sure that you are seen by other road users. Unfortunately, cyclists are usually the most vulnerable people on the road – don’t put yourself at even more risk by not taking lights.
Use tracking apps
The final thing we would recommend is installing a tracking app on your phone that your loved ones or bubble can access. Activate it before each ride so that your location is shared – this is particularly useful if you suffer an extreme mechanical that you cannot fix on the roadside. Apps like Strava Beacon, Garmin LiveTrack and Find my Phone are particularly useful.
Self-sufficiency in times of lockdown also means adhering to the national guidelines. This means riding within your limits on local, well known roads and following the tips set out in this article.
Being independent and self-reliant on the bike is now more important than ever. However, this can be very daunting for a first-time rider who is only used to going out in the safety of a group. Check out: 7 Ways To Keep Cycling Through Lockdown for more tips.
One more way to make yourself more self-sufficient on the bike is by taking out one of our cycle insurance policies. Pedalsure can insure all of your bikes and accessories and cover them even in your home. The fact is, you won’t find many of the things we cover in your typical home insurance policies.
Taking out a policy with us means that your bike is protected in cases of bike theft and damage. Pedalsure can also protect you, your bike and your accessories in mass participation events and races, in cases of personal injury, personal liability and when you are travelling abroad. Getting yourself set up with a Pedalsure policy is something you only have to do once a year, but you benefit from on every ride.