Learning to Ride... The Scandi Way
Ya! They know a bit about cycling
Here in the UK, we are not necessarily the best at using the humble bike to its full potential. Many immediately turn to a motor, be that a car, a bus or a moped, for most of our travel and commuting needs, and yet there’s a rather fantastic alternative we seem to be neglecting.
But wait... We feel change in the air.
Cycling as a way of transport is the preferred method in many European countries, but having taken many a trip to the glorious Scandinavian neck of the woods (of which they have many!) in Denmark and Sweden, we have learnt many a thing of getting the bike to be a more popular choice.
Obviously, the infrastructure of the actual roads in the cities and towns of Denmark and Sweden are built to perfectly cater for the mass of bike commuters. Whilst we wish we could change this, sadly that is one thing out of our control. However, there are so many other elements we can take from the Scandi people and implement in to our lives. Here’s the 6 things we noticed that we reckon could inspire you to jump on two pedals a little bit more – even if that is just once a month to start with, baby steps and all that:
⛑ HELMETS. We reckon so many people fear cycling due to the safety element. Please do keep your eyes peeled for those pesky car drivers who just don’t look for cyclists – common sense maybe, but in Nordic cultures cyclists are actually more important in the vehicle hierarchy than the car, so they always get priority. Sadly this is not the same here – please do not forget that. Anyway, safety lecture aside, do wear a helmet. It could be the law (should be, let’s be honest) and there’s a reason for it. Same as skiing, don’t think you look cooler not wearing one, you just don’t. We recommend the Torch with built in front and back lights
🖖 RESPECT. In the words of the wonderful Aretha Franklin, just have a little respect, but in this case, for the roads and other cyclists. Respect everything and everyone. It’s like driving, assume others are not on full alert and don’t get complacent (sorry to be so serious, but we just want you to get to work in one piece!). Listen to Aretha's song here to remind you of what you need. All together...
🧚♀️ PATIENCE. Be patient at crossings (always use actual crossings, at that), don’t take chances, and leave home on time. Again, we feel the mighty Take That say it best
🚴♀️THE "GEAR". Okay, so you don’t need all the gear, but the Scandi’s generally don’t leave home without the essentials. A waterproof coat - don’t forget to bring a bag to pop all the wet clothes in when you’re at work. A seat cover is a good idea in the UK (we recommend the Velo Seat Cover by Dry Patch). Also a good pair of gloves as cold hands suck (here's carefully selected selection). A helmet (we already said that right?)
💡 LIGHTS. Actually a legal requirement in Denmark (what with the bike being a part of the road traffic alongside the car), not only do they help you see where you’re going, but they mean others can see you. Don’t underestimate them. They needn’t be super duper pricey, but they are worth every penny you do spend. Oh and always have a spare, should they run out. White on the front, red on the back, same as a car.
Cycle make Winglights - set of bar end indicators for cyclists with built in front and rear facing white and red lights. They are brilliant for added safety when turning.
⚡ HIGH VIZ & REFLECTIVE. A raincoat with high viz is ideal. You can’t be too visible when you’re on two wheels. You are more vulnerable in many ways – don’t be put off by this, just know you need to be more prepared and vigilant. And high viz with ultra reflection is the way forward.
Check out ReflecToes range kit for an amazing selection of stuff where High Viz meets Reflection!
Okay, so this all sounds like rather a lot, So what are the benefits of cycling? The extra exercise is great for us mentally and physically, especially as we all lead more and more sedentary lifestyles; the cost vs a car or public transport is huge; parking is much easier with a bike and you’re doing your bit to reduce your carbon footprint. At the core of it, cycling is just really great fun and it makes you feel fantastic!
What do you reckon? Anything we’ve missed? Have we persuaded to give cycling to work or even just to your friends house for a quick drink? Good.