Taking up cycling in the New Year

If you’ve decided that this year is going to be the year you start riding a bike, we’re here to support you. If you’re anything like me, you may not have even attempted to start your New Year’s resolution, but when it comes to riding a bike all you have to do is get on! Many of us haven’t cycled since we were children, if that’s you you’ll need to take the time to properly choose the right bike for you.

How to choose the perfect bike

Depending on what you’re planning to use your bike for, this will determine the type of bike you need. There are a few different types of bike to choose from:

Road bike

This is the term used for a traditional bicycle. As the name might suggest, these bikes are designed for good performance on roads. Two types of bikes fall under this category, racing and touring bikes. Racing bikes are designed for speed and performance, whereas touring bikes are designed sustained comfort.

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Choosing the right bike for you

Mountain bike

These bikes are designed for off road use. The difference between these and road bikes is that mountain bikes have compact frames and higher handle bars, giving the rider a more upright position. There is a selection of different mountain bike types such as downhill or cross country.  A mountain bike is generally seen as a good all-rounder as they can be efficient on roads.

BMX bike

These are low profile bikes with 20 inch tyres. BMX bikes are used in competitions on trails and courses.

Once you’ve decided on the type of bike you need, you’ll have to make sure you get the correct size to fit you. Getting this right is essential as different bikes have different dimensions for varying body types. When trying out sizes, you’ll need to make sure that the straddle height isn’t too high so that mounting and dismounting is easy and comfortable.

Try before you buy to get a feel for your new bike and once you’ve purchased pay for a professional to assemble it. Now you have your bike, it is also a good idea to get some training on bike maintenance, so you know how to take care of your bike yourself.

Now all that is left is to go out and enjoy yourself!

How to prepare for cycling in the dark

With winter drawing near it is important to make sure you are prepared for the dark mornings and nights, if you are commuting by bike.

Around 17,000 cyclists are killed or injured in road accidents each year. Statistics have revealed that there is a higher rate of cycling casualties between October and February. During these months the sun rises much later, usually after 8am and the sunsets much earlier from any time after 3:30pm. This means that people who commute by bike are likely to spend most of it in the dark.

25% of cycling accidents occur due to the cyclist having a lack of safety equipment. Don’t cycle in the dark, without the proper equipment and lights. Make sure you can be seen.

Staying visible in the dark

Wear bright colours so you can be seen.

Wear bright colours so you can be seen.

  • Wear bright-coloured or fluorescent clothing, or a high visibility vest.
  • Wear reflective accessories, such as a belt or arm/ankle bands.
  • Ensure your bike has a reliable white front light, rear red light, rear red reflector and amber pedal reflectors.

Will the cycling protest make a difference?

Earlier this week, thousands of cyclists took to London’s streets and rode slowly through central London, bringing streets to a standstill, calling on the mayor to give them more space on the roads. Around 5,000 cyclists took part in the protest, organised by the London Cycling Campaign.

The protest was made up of 20 guided rides across different areas of London, which joined at the London Eye before making their way up to Parliament Square, where MP’s were debating the Get Britain Cycling Report.  Protesters included family members of victims, injured cyclists and accident survivors. The protest was decorated with flags and bells, hooters and stereos could be heard.

Cyclists want more space to be allocated to them on London’s roads and are calling for a barrier of separation between them and other road users.

Protesters took to the streets or London

Protesters took to the streets or London

Cycling accident victim, John Hartley said “Some space has to be taken away from motor vehicles and given to cyclists.”

Debbie Dorling, who lost her husband when he was killed on his bike by a construction lorry 2 years ago said “the only way to stop the fatalities was to create a physical barrier between the cyclists and motor traffic.”

The London cycling campaign are calling for a number of changes to be made to make roads safer for cyclists.

These changes include:

  • A 20mph speed limit in all residential areas
  • £10 to be spent per head on cycling
  • Separation of cyclists on main roads and junctions
  • Upgrade Cycle Superhighway 2
  • Creation of safe cycling routes in Zone 1

But will this protest do anything to help? In many previous cases, we have seen the public protesting only to be ignored.  The government have already rejected the measures put forward on the Get Britain Cycling Report. In addition to this the communities secretary,  Eric Pickles has slated Cambridge for having a pro- cycling policy, which suggests he is not interested in helping cyclists at all. Hopefully the attitude he possess isn’t one that is representative of the majority of MP’s. What do you think this protest will achieve?

 Information provided by the Evening Standard

Cycling safety

Many of you will already know how to keep safe when cycling on the roads, you will also know how difficult this can be on congested routes. However there are many new cyclists on the roads, who lack the confidence and skill. If you are scared and lack confidence, hopefully this guide will help you to cycle safely.

Cycling is statistically safe, however it is easy for new cyclists to be scared by horror stories. Per year there are 10-15 fatalities on bikes, without any other vehicle being involved, this is a relatively small number. Even when considering the role that other vehicles cause in cycling collisions, the figure is still relatively small when compared to other types of road accidents.

Take a look at these top tips for safer cycling:

Learn the skills

Cycle training is available for people of all ages and if you’re lacking in confidence, this could be just the thing for you. Training is available that covers everything from basic bike control to complex urban journeys.

Move away from the kerb

Don’t cycle in the gutter. This may make you feel safe, but hugging the pavement makes you less visible to moving vehicles. You should always cycle at least 50cm from the kerb. If you position yourself in the middle of the lane, this will force cars to overtake you when it is safe to do so.

cycle safe

How to cycle safely on busy roads

Make eye contact

Making eye contact with drivers, lets them know you’re there. This is particularly useful at traffic lights, turning right and approaching junctions. This simple act will help avoid the ‘sorry mate I didn’t see you’.

Signal

It is important to signal, so that other road users know your intentions. Check over your shoulder early, so you have time to change position smoothly.

Roundabouts

When it comes to roundabouts, on your approach make sure you take your lane. This will make you visible to all road users, avoiding any accidents. Before leaving the roundabout, check, signal and exit.

Traffic lights

Don’t be a red light jumper, this is dangerous to not only yourself but to those around you. Wait behind the advance stop line and take your lane. This will let all the drivers behind you, know that you are there. You’ll also be safer in the middle of the lane as nothing will be able to squeeze past you or cut you off as they turn left.

For safe cycling make sure you:

  • Don’t weave in and out of traffic.
  • Use cycle routes, advanced stop lines and cycle boxes when you can.
  • Give pedestrians priority.
  • Use your bell to inform others of your presence.
good-looking-bike-security-solutions from asgard storage

Keep your bike locked securely

If you’re new to cycling and have purchased your first bike, make sure your bike is kept protected from the threat of theft. Asgard metal bike sheds offer fantastic security and protection for bikes. These storage units are made from weatherproof steel and are fitted with a number of security features such as tough locking systems and integral metal floors. These bike stores are available in a range of sizes and colours to suit all needs.

Tour de France 2014 Countdown

The Tour de France 2013 is over! Big congratulations to Chris Froome, this year’s winner. But now that the Tour de France 2013 is over, the real excitement for many can really begin! Next year, the Tour de France 2014 will be hitting the UK, with the Grand Depart set to take place from West Yorkshire the home of Asgard Secure Steel Storage.

The Tour de France 2014 is Yorkshire’s chance to shine and everyone is getting involved. For thousands of UK cycling fans this is the moment they have been waiting for, chance to not only watch but to also be involved in the biggest cycling event of the year.

The Tour de France 2014

When it was announced that the Tour de France would be coming to Yorkshire, the Le Tour Maker campaign was launched. This campaign was launched to recruit volunteers to help out and show the world just how brilliant Yorkshire really is! So far a phenomenal 15,000 people have signed up to become Le Tour Makers, proving just how much people want to get involved with this prestigious sporting event.

Not only has the Tour de France encouraged people to volunteer, it has also encouraged more and more people to start cycling. From the moment Bradley Wiggins won the Tour De France in 2012, the people of Britain have been hit with the cycling bug and this has only been amplified by Chris Froome’s recent 2013 win.

Cycling activities across the UK have increased across, with more cycling festivals, cycle clubs and organised events popping up everywhere. More cyclists also means more bikes on the roads and more bikes unfortunately means a bigger threat of bike theft. If you’re one of the many new cyclists out there, make sure you make bike security a priority. Bike thieves are adapting and becoming smarter and using new tactics to find higher priced bikes to steal.

If you are concerned about the security of your bike, check out the Asgard range of bike sheds. Asgard is a UK Manufacturer based in West Yorkshire; we are company full of cyclists who are looking forward to the Tour de France landing on our door steps. Asgard bike sheds made and sold by people who love bikes, so you know you’re getting a product that works.

Insurance approved bike storage

Secure bike storage from Asgard

These bike sheds are made from strong weatherproof steel and are fitted with heavy duty locking mechanisms, depending on your chosen model, which are designed to help keep thieves out and leave your bikes safe. These bike storage units are available in a range of sizes for 1 up to 8 bikes. With a little help from Asgard, you’ll be able to enjoy cycling without putting your bike at risk.

Top Ten Places to Go Cycling This Summer

1.Swinley Forest.

Variable distances

Situated to the South-West of Windsor Great Park, Swinley forest comprises over 2600 acres of woodland. There are numerous trails to choose from so you can find one appropriate to your ability. Recently there has been a lot of investment into new facilities so it’s well worth a visit.

2. TETBURY TO SHERSTON, COTSWOLDS

Approx. 13 miles

This route takes you through quite country lanes and plenty of beautiful scenic pubs to stop at on the way. With few hills and little traffic this is a good ride for most of the family.

3. Kennet and Avon Canal, Bath to Reading

85 miles

Britain’s most popular long distance waterside cycle route passes through areas of outstanding natural beauty and features aqueducts, tunnels and historic buildings. Riders can do this in a day but less experienced cyclists can split this into 3 sections.

4. Mawddach Trail Cycleway, Wales (Dolgellau to Barmouth)

10 miles

A disused railway line, stunning ride running below the foothills of Cadair Iris and tucked away in the south of the Snowdonia national park this is an idyllic ride suitable for all the family.

5. Tarka Trail

31 miles

This route is renowned for its wildlife along the way there are “discovery posts” with information on the wildlife around that area. You could be lucky enough to spot an otter on the river bank! This is a great way to explore rural Devon.

6. Grizedale Forest

Variable distances

With 8 routes to choose from Grizedale is perfect for the family with lots of facilities including a bike hire shop where you can hire normal bikes as well as adult tag along bikes and trailers for young children.  Once you’ve finished cycling there is a café, playground and shops.

7. Causeway Coast Cycle Route (Giants Causeway to Benone)

23 miles

The route has fine sea views over as well as a railway path to the Giant Causeway Visitor centre which is a World Heritage site created by a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Refreshments and toilet facilities are available at towns throughout the route.

8. Tweed Valley

Variable

One of the most visited tourist attractions in Scotland. The trails are graded so it’s good for beginners as well as more experienced riders. Bikes are available for hire as well as tuition at the ‘Dirt School’ where groups are split into different abilities.

9. Purbeck Ride, Dorset

47 miles

Rural scenery and costal views with a few historic landmarks along the way; this route is mainly on roads with a few steep hills and is ideal for confident riders.

10.The Camel Trail, Cornwall

18 miles

Based on an historic railway track passes through beautiful Cornish countryside. It goes along the coast as well as through areas of forest and is relatively flat so perfect for families.

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It’s not always easy when you’re away from home to keep your bike secure. So take a look at one of Asgard’s bike storage units so you know your bike is safe from theft!

Fans go crazy for the Tour de France

The Tour de France is one of the few remaining sporting events that you can attend for free. With nothing but the open road, there is plenty of space for fans to set up camp, sit back, relax and enjoy.

To find accommodation in these locations can take a huge amount of planning and many make their reservations as soon as the race route is announced.

Tour De France 2014 is coming to Yokrshire

Tour de France makes fans dreams come true

With fans travelling from far and wide, specialist companies are now popping up offering complete packages for those wanting to turn viewing the Tour de France into a Holiday. One company, Sports Tours International offers a range of packages including a 12 day trip for £2000.

At every stage, start and finish, fans can be found swarming, trying to get a glimpse of their favourite riders and hoping to get photos and autographs.

Many people in the UK, will be able to fulfil their dreams of watching the Tour de France as it makes its grand depart from West Yorkshire, in 2014.  No doubt local cycling fans cannot wait for this huge event to reach their home towns and the feeling of being able to be in the heart of the action without having to fork out a fortune is priceless. The Tour de France 2014, will make watching the event for UK fans easier than ever!