First published on 12 Oct 2010. Updated on 12 Feb 2013.
"Will I trade fat for fit?"
Long-term health benefits of cycling include increased strength, better muscle tone, decreased body fat and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.
• Cycling gets endorphins flowing – a great stress release.
• Rookies remember: bike riding should not feel more strenuous than walking (unless you want it to). Don’t go too hard too early!
"Will it take long?"
• City trips of under 10km are faster in peak hour than cars or public transport.
"Do I need special equipment?"
• Just a bike, helmet (it's illegal riding without one) and lock.
• If you’re riding in the dark you’ll need front and rear lights.
• Make sure your brakes, tyres and chain are in good condition.
• Ensure your bike set-up is ideal for your body size. Are you over-extending your upper body? Is your seat at the right height? Is your helmet ﬁtted correctly?
"I hate spandex! Alternatives?"
• Unrestrictive, light, warm and fast-dry clothes are ideal. They should be bright for maximum visibility.
• You can ride in work clothes or change at work. Or bring in a week’s worth of work clothes by car or train in one go!
"How do I carry my stuff?"
• Travelling light? Try a backpack or bike basket. Panniers (a bag fastened to a rack) are great for larger loads.
• Bike trailers are a good option for large or heavy work materials.
"How do I plan my trip to work?"
• Speak to regular riders and check out maps from your local cycling organisation. Aim for a route that avoids fast traffic and narrow roads. You might be able to utilise off-road bike paths and on-road lanes.
• If there’s a neighbour who cycles in from your direction, arrange to ride together. Bike riders are social animals and love to share tips and help others get started.
• Consider a trial ride on a weekend.
• To pick up a FREE Sydney Cycling Map showing recommended bike routes in inner Sydney call the City of Sydney on 02 9265 9333.
"But I live a long way from work!"
• So jump on the train with your bike and get off a few stops from work, or drive part of the way and ride from there, or cycle to the train station.
"I'm nervous about riding in traffic."
No worries. Keep in mind the Three C’s:
• Common sense: Bicycles are vehicles and must follow the rules of the road. Riding on the left, obeying traffic signals and using hand signals before turning right are all essential for safe riding.
• Courtesy: Be assertive but considerate – know the road rules and act on them. If you make eye contact with motorists you can be more confident they’ve seen you.
• Caution: Find the safest riding route – try quiet streets or off-road bike paths. Ride predictably and leave room to manoeuvre. Watch for opening car doors!
• Book in to one of the City of Sydney’s FREE Cycling in the City Confidence Courses. You will learn responsible and low-risk riding techniques and build your skills riding in traffic. For more information visit City of Sydney.
"What if I get a puncture?"
• You can minimise the chances of a puncture by making sure your tyres are in good condition and inﬂated to the recommended pressure (the PSI marked on your tyres). Ask your local bike shop about tyres and linings that offer extra protection against punctures.
• If you get a puncture and you’re carrying a basic repair kit, you can replace the tube or repair the old
one pretty quickly on the spot.
• If you haven’t learned how to repair or replace a tube, the City of Sydney offers FREE bike maintenance courses. For more information visit City of Sydney.
Sydney cycling guide
Sydney's best bicycle shops