Cycling tips and where to buy a bike

Cycling safety is about more than equipment–it’s about being able to cycle safely and confidently. Here are some tips which, with a bit of practice, will soon make you into a confident and safe Cambridge cyclist:

  • When turning, signal clearly by sticking out your arm wide on the direction you are about to travel.
  • Always look behind you for other vehicles before turning and changing direction.
  • Never go through red traffic lights, and think carefully about then to go through an amber signal.
  • Do not try and overtake large vehicles on the left–hand side when traffic is stationary, as you may find them turning into you, or the space between you and them narrowing suddenly.
  • Consider using cycle lanes, paths and routes where available, as they can sometimes make your journey safer.
  • Never cycle after drinking or taking drugs.

A great way of improving your cycling confidence in a fun and friendly atmosphere is to take cycling proficiency lessons, especially if you are new to cycling in urban areas. For more information on your nearest cycle training courses contact the CUSU Welfare and Graduates Officer.

Buying a bike

One thing which is particularly important to think about is what type of bicycle to use or buy in Cambridge. Cambridge is very flat so you do not need many gears, and three speed city bikes are very popular and practical. If you have brought a valuable bike with you, you might consider investing in some good quality locks. Cycle theft is the most common crime affecting Cambridge students, so don’t spend more than £200 unless you are willing to invest at least 20% of the cost of the bike on locks.

There are lots and lots of bike shops in Cambridge, although the quality of bikes marketed at students can vary enormously. As a rule–of–thumb you might want to spend £150–200 brand new, or £60–100 second hand. While cheaper bikes are certainly available, be a little wary of special deals where a mountain bike will be sold to you complete with lights, lock and a basket–these bikes can be unsuited for on–road riding, and the locks which come with them may be cheap, and therefore easy to break through.

The following bike shops offer a student discount:

  • 5% of repairs at The Bikeman, Market Square.
  • 10% off goods at Howes Cycles, Regent St.
  • 10% off accessories at Mike’s Bikes, Mill Road.
  • 10% discount at Blazing Saddles, Cherry Hinton Road.
  • 10% discount on accessories (excluding plugs and oils) at Wilco Motor Spares, Mill Road.
  • 5% off new bikes, 10% off spares, accessories and clothing, 20% off labour charges
at Townsends Light Blue Cycle centre, 72 Chesterton Street.

Cambridge Cycle Centre on Botolph Lane offers good value for money second–hand bikes, and is conveniently close to Corpus.