Summer is finally here, days are longer, evenings warmer and it’s the best time of year to get outside, dust off your bike and go exploring! To give you a few ideas about what sort of cycling stuff you could get up to this summer, we have pulled together our top ten here.
1. Give your bike a spring clean
If your bike has been tucked up behind the lawn mower at the back of the garden shed, it is time to pull it out and get it in ‘tip top’ condition ready for your summer cycling! If you are unsure how to clean your bike properly, have a look at London Cyclist's top tips. They include everything from cleaning your bike chain and removing the gunk from the front and rear sprockets, to giving your bike frame some tender loving care. They even include a section on common cleaning mistakes too. So get your bike sparkling soonish!
2. Microadventure with friends
Fed up with the grind? Take a mid-week break, leave work early one afternoon, cycle until dark, camp on a hill and cycle back to work the next morning. Remember to pack deodorant, a tooth brush and something to eat.
The concept of Microadventures was dreamed up by Alastair Hunphreys. For inspiration visit www.alastairhumphreys.com
3. Exchange your car for a bike
Next time you need to pop to the local shops consider cycling instead. It is not only healthier, it saves money and it's better for the environment too. There are loads of saddle bags, back-racks and baskets to choose from to make carrying your shopping super easy. And, why not cycle (or partly cycle) to work too.
4. Learn a new skill
If you don’t know how to change an inner tube, adjust your brakes and gears. It may be a good time to take a course. There are plenty of courses available - just ask your local independent cycle store what they offer or join one of Evans’ fortnightly classes here.
5. Introduce someone to cycling
When it is cold, wet and miserable outside you are far more likely to cancel a ride if its you just cycling. So persuade a friend to join you, pick a scenic route, find him/her a bike and take them for a spin. It also means you have someone to chat to which makes riding more fun too. Find bike hires near you.
6. Join a local cycle event
As summer starts to kick in, so do the cycling events. There are thousands to choose from all over the country, from sportives to more leisurely family rides. A good place to start is the British Heart Foundation which offers loads of on-road or off-road mass participation events. Find out more here.
7. Donate to a cycling charity
Make a difference and change someone’s life – help provide a bike for a needy child in rural Africa. The most recent completed evaluation done in Zambia showed a 28% increase in school attendance rates and 59% increase in academic performance amongst girls who received bicycles. In the long term, keeping girls in school has shown to have a multiplier effect as educated women tend to be healthier, earn more, have fewer children and lift families out of poverty across the generations.
Donate to World Bike Relief here.
8. Cycle somewhere new
Keep your cycling fresh and interesting by cycling somewhere new. If you are unsure where to start, check out the National Cycle Network (NCN) which offers a series of safe, traffic free cycle paths connecting all major cities and towns in the UK. And, if you log into the Sustrans website and add your post code, you will be directed to some great cycle routes in your area including a description of the route and ‘things to see and do’ along the way.
9. Watch the big names in cycling at the Tour de France
Soak up the action this summer and head over to France to watch the big names in cycling compete for one of the most prestigious events on the calendar – the Tour de France. This event starts in Normandy on the 2nd July and is made up of 21 stages, a lot of hills and a distance of 3,519 kms! If you want to experience what it is like to ride the tour, take your bike over early and ride one, or some of the stages before. Find out more about the event here
10. Explore a new country by bicycle – slowly…
Get the best out of a country by taking your time cycling around new areas. Cycling allows you to immerse yourself in the region, delving into the history and customs of the area, enjoying the food, exploring the landscape, and of course, meeting the local people. At The Slow Cyclist we take small groups of curious, open-mind travellers on imaginative journeys in Transylvania and Rwanda. If you want to take the slow road and get to know a new place, come with us! Find out more about The Slow Cyclist adventures here.