10 Tips For Using Your Bike For Active Travel

Higham Marshes Cycling

10th February 2022

This blog is brought to you from one of the Explore Kent team and their own personal experience with cycling and active travelling.

Have you thought about using your bike for active travel (getting to the shops and other short journeys) but never got started? At the beginning of the year, I set myself a goal of leaving the car at home and travelling short distances on two wheels. Firstly, to save money on fuel, wear and tear on my car (short trips aren’t good for the engine), but secondly to get a bit fitter. I haven’t done this since my teens (when my bike everywhere) so it has been a big learning experience. Here’s what I have learned myself and by asking seasoned experts.


Tips to start cycling more

  • Keep your bike where it’s easy to get out and use. If it’s behind lots of stuff in the shed, I would end up taking the car.
  • I also ride in normal clothes. For short distances I don’t think you need a cycling specific outfit, but a good waterproof jacket is essential.
  • Buy a good lock, which is light and easy to carry. Keep the key with your house keys so you don’t forget it.
  • Panniers or a basket are a huge help. I started off with a rucksack but when full, it changed my balance and made arm signals much more challenging. Panniers you can take off easily are fantastic for shopping: just load them at the scanner.
  • I use lights during the day and have two sets, so I’m never caught without them.
  • At first, I was just following the roads I would travel in the car, but now I’ve found routes that work better for me on the bike. Kent Connected is so useful for finding cycle routes.
  • Working from home means I don’t need to commute but my friends recommend taking any clothes, shower kit and snacks in on Monday. You’re not racing so it’s fine to take it easy and stay fresh!
  • I took a cycling course to give me confidence and help with manoeuvring. Kent County Council have low cost courses throughout Kent.
  • Not sure you can pedal all the way? I will certainly be getting an e-bike if I need to, especially if I want to get up hills easily.
  • Lastly, enjoy your new opportunity to get fitter, save money and help our environment!

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