If it’s your first time riding a bike for transport, or it’s been a while between trips, we have a few tips to get you rolling.
You don’t need expensive gear to start riding a bike. Have a look at our guide on the different types of bikes to find one that suits your purposes, as well as additional equipment you may find useful. You can pick up some great bike bargains online, at garage sales and swap meets.
Once you have a bike, you need to check:
- Is your bike in safe working order? Does it need a service or can you just dust off the cobwebs, adjust the seat, pump the tyres and get ready to roll? Check out our guide for basic bike maintenance.
- Do you have a helmet, sturdy lock (a D-lock is most secure) and rear and front lights? Are the batteries in the lights charged?
Take your bike for a quick spin around the block to check everything works and to make sure you’re feeling confident about how the bike feels. It can sometimes take a little while to get used to the quirks of a new or unfamiliar bike.
Planning your route
Riding 3 kilometres to work will take you less than 15 minutes at an easy pace. If your commute is further, combining cycling with catching the train or bus is a great option. Use our Journey Planner to plan your commute.
While the Journey Planner will provide you with a direct route that may include Principal Shared Path's and other cycling networks, some factors you may want to consider when planning your route include:
- On-road paths
- Traffic levels
- Quiet routes parallel to busy roads
It may take some time through trial and error to find your ideal commuting route. Allow extra time the first day you commute by bike to allow for wrong turns or misjudging how fast your ride.
Parking your bike
Wherever possible use a bike rack to lock your bike to. Otherwise, lock your bike somewhere secure that doesn’t block access for other traffic and pedestrians but where the presence of people or security cameras will help keep thieves at bay.
Tips for Clothing
Everyday clothes are totally appropriate for commuting by bike, particularly for short journeys. You may want to consider:
- If your bike doesn’t have a chain guard, roll up your pants or stuff in your socks to avoid it getting dirty or caught in the chain. You can also use an elastic band or purchase special trouser clips. (It might feel a bit silly at first, but you will look sillier covered in grease!)
- Cycling in a skirt is easily managed by using the penny-in-your-pants trick, wearing leggings or adopting these strategies.
- Exercise-wear or taking a change of clothes may be appropriate for longer distances, particularly in hot or rainy weather; check if your workplace has showers and change rooms.
Things to consider during the ride
Bike riding is a healthy and sustainable mode of transport, however it's necessary to be vigilant and clear with your intentions if you’re riding with motorised traffic.
- Look ahead to anticipate people opening doors of parked cars or pedestrians stepping onto the road.
- Drivers in Western Australia must now leave at least 1metre space when passing cyclists in speed zones under 60kph and 1.5metres if over 60kph.
- It is legal for people of all ages to cycle on the footpath. Drivers crossing footpaths must give way to cyclists, and cyclists must give way to pedestrians and warn of their approach.
- Using a mobile phone while cycling (even on a bike path) can incur a penalty of $400. If you do want to use your phone while you cycle, such as for navigation, you need to have it properly mounted on your bicycle.
The Department of Transport provides detailed information regarding cycling regulations, as well as some more safety tips. Also check out this great City of Sydney video on The Art of Gracious Cycling