There are two different types of social cyclers. Those who are keen to share the accountability and socialisation of riding with multiple people in a group ride and those that prefer a single, solitary experience when taking their journey. We can all agree that cycling in a group and alone can be a daunting experience for any beginner taking up the hobby. When you cycle alone you are solely responsible for yourself and your journey, making it the perfect escape whether you want to be focused or to simply create a relaxed state of mind and enjoy the flow riding brings. I personally enjoy riding in a group or with my cycling buddy as I sometimes struggle to stay motivated on my bike. A few words of encouragement and need to perform in front of others often does the trick to push me further with my cycling goals.
As we’ve mentioned, cycling alone can be a great way to clear your mind and become more confident when riding. However, riding solitary can come with many risks for you to consider. For example, a group of cyclists are easier for motorist to spot and they also have the added bonus of providing several sets of eyes to spot potential hazards that a solo rider might miss. We’ve put together some more tips that we think are helpful when riding solo.
- Plan ahead
You first priority when cycling should always be to plan – especially if you are looking at going out on your own. Without this you could easily find yourself in a tricky situation such as being lost or having issues with your bike. If you struggle to pre plan, try reading our blog ‘What to pack in your bike survival kit,’ where we discuss all the different ways you can you pre-plan your ride.
- Invest in the right gear
You don’t want to find yourself ignoring crucial parts of gear when riding alone as you won’t have anyone with you to split items or have something you may have missed. Vital gear we believe, for example:
- Repair kit – Providing you have a basic knowledge of fixing minor issues with your bike, a repair kit will always come in handy to pump, tweak and patch up any minor problems.
- Clothing – Being based in Manchester, we know all too well how weather can creep up on you and leave you soaked within minutes. Always bring extra protection with you just in case such as socks, gloves.
- Hydration – On any ride you should always plan for hydration, even if you know you’ll be able to get water on your route.
- Lighting and safety gear – Items like this are often fairly cheap but highly important when taking a solo ride. Look for lights that blink, are waterproof and provide different modes of flashing. Our Oliver lights are also rechargeable that come in handy regardless of if you are riding solo or with others.
- Helmet – always!
- Ensure correct bike maintenance
You should always make sure you are up to date with your bike quality/maintenance, more so than ever when cycling alone. Thoroughly check through your bike vitals before and after each ride. Things you should be looking over are your lights, gears, tyres etc. If you are a beginner rider and not sure what to look out for, visit your local bike shop where they will look over and fine tune your bike professionally for you.
- Notify another
Regardless of your age, gender or physical ability you should never venture out on your own, leaving yourself vulnerable if anything was to happen. It’s always a good idea to let someone know prior to you setting off with an estimate time of when you will be back. There are also apps available that can track your location and alert friends/family if you don’t check in.
- Change your routine up
If you always cycle the same route and the same time you should switch up your routine, creating unpredictability just in case anyone’s tracking your journey. While we also know how beautiful sparse, country trails can be, it’s best when alone to stick to populated areas.
Regardless of these tips you should always keep your wits about you and follow your intuition. Always be on high alert in area’s unknown to you and if any situation feels uncomfortable or wrong and trust your instincts.