Need some inspiration to get out on the bike? Have a read.
“Ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel. But ride.”
– Eddy Merckx
“When my legs hurt, I say: “Shut up legs! Do what I tell you to do!”
– Jens Voigt
“It never gets easier, you just get faster.”
– Greg LeMond
“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.”
– John F Kennedy
“Cyclists see considerably more of this beautiful world than any other class of citizens. A good bicycle, well applied, will cure most ills this flesh is heir to.”
– Dr K.K. Doty
“A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke.”
– Scott Stoll
“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring.”
– Desmond Tutu
“Cycling isn’t a game, it’s a sport. Tough, hard and unpitying, and it requires great sacrifices. One plays football, or tennis, or hockey. One doesn’t play at cycling.”
– Jean de Gribaldy
“It doesn’t matter if you’re sprinting for an Olympic gold medal, a town sign, a trailhead, or the rest stop with the homemade brownies. If you never confront pain, you’re missing the essence of the sport.”
– Scott Martin
“The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it.”
– Doug Bradbury
“To me, it doesn’t matter whether it’s raining or the sun is shining or whatever: as long as I’m riding a bike I know I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”
– Mark Cavendish
“I don’t ride a bike to add days to my life. I ride a bike to add life to my days.”
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”
– Arthur Conan Doyle
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.”
– Ernest Hemingway
“It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.”
– Heinz Stucke
Things you don't have to do
The things some people believe cyclists must do, or if they don't do they should do.
Riding outside the cycle lane - Highway Code rule 63
- Use of cycle lanes is not compulsory, largely due to Cycling UK's campaign in response to a proposed Highway Code revision in 2007. What's more, the common belief that cyclists are advised to use cycle lanes is also slightly overstated. Rule 63 of the Highway Code describes cycle lanes, but does not say that cyclists should use them, merely that use of them "depends on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer".
- Most cyclists will choose to use good quality cycle lanes where they exist, but where they are badly designed, littered with glass or badly maintained, they won't. You are entitled to make you own choice, and the Highway Code rule merely reflects that.
Riding in the middle of the lane - Highway Code rule 169
- This refers to the middle of the lane rather than the primary position, because the latter phrase means nothing to most motorists. Whatever you call it, this means 'taking the lane', so you are cycling effectively in the middle of the lane, with the general flow of traffic rather than to the left of the traffic.
- Riding in this position can in some circumstances be your safest option. If there are parked cars on your left it gives you sufficient space to avoid any car doors unexpectedly opened in front of you. It can discourage or prevent drivers from overtaking where there is insufficient space or it would be unsafe to do so, and it can be where you can most easily see and be seen.
- You don't always have to ride in this position, and depending on the road and traffic conditions, you may choose to move further to the left of the lane into what is known as the secondary position. That does not however mean hugging the kerb, which you are neither obliged or advised to do in any circumstances.
- Some motorists labour under the urban myth, that cyclists have to keep to the left to allow vehicles to pass. Rule 169, which applies to all road users, does advise that you should not "hold up a long queue of traffic", before referring specifically to large or slow moving vehicles with further advice to "if necessary, pull in where it is safe and let traffic pass".
- Rule 169 does not mean that cyclists should immediately pull over to let traffic past, but it could be interpreted to suggest that a cyclist riding in the middle of the lane (or cyclists riding two abreast), should at some point look to move to the left or single out if there is a significant queue building up behind them, though a key question would still be whether there was an opportunity to do so safely.
Wearing a helmet - Highway Code rule 59
- We will always advise wearing a helmet, it has saved my life or at least saved me from serious injury on more than one occasion. Highway Code rule 59 advice is often sadly used to deflect blame to the cyclist and, in relation to clothing, to attempt to explain why a driver either failed to see or failed to avoid hitting a cyclist. Strangely, it does not seem to apply in reverse, so if you hit a black car you can't blame the owner or manufacturer for their paint colour choice. It's apparently just cyclists in dark clothes who can't be seen.