Cycling is a great way to sightsee when you’re on holiday in a country you’ve never visited. It allows you to get up close to the sights and meet local people while exploring cities and villages. However, it’s important to ride a safe bicycle to prevent injuries and thoroughly enjoy your trip.
Cycling in the UK
If you’re taking one of the cycling holidays in the UK, you should be aware of all local and national regulations considering cycling and bicycle safety. First, whether you hire a bicycle from the touring company you’re traveling with or bring your own bicycle for the trip, it should adhere to the safety regulations set by the government.
While a bicycle mechanic doesn’t need to review every bicycle for hire, you should be aware of the regulations to make sure you’re getting a safe ride. Some of the basic regulations are shown below:
- Nothing sharp should contact the rider during normal usage of the bicycle. The ends of cables should be taped or capped, and the ends of handlebars should be covered by grips or protective plugs. Also, gear or electric cabling needs to be attached to the bicycle’s frame.
- There should be no visible damage to the frames and forks of bicycles and, if the frame is not in alignment, it should be no more than five degrees out of line.
- Brakes should not bind the wheels, although slight binding is permissible. This can be tested by lifting the bike off the ground and spinning a wheel. The brake pad shouldn’t keep the wheel from rotating, and should only touch the intended surface of the wheel when applied.
- When brakes are applied, they should safely bring the bicycle to a smooth stop from a speed of 24kmph in dry conditions and 16kmph in wet conditions.
- The tyres should have a safe level of tread of them and be inflated to their recommended pressure.
- The saddle should be adjustable and shouldn’t be cracked or split.
There are many other regulations concerning the safety of hired or bicycles, but you should be able to quickly assess the safety of a bicycle at a glance. If you do have questions about its safety due to its appearance, you should have it examined or ask for another bicycle.
If you’re travelling from overseas, you may wish to purchase a used bicycle for your tour to cut costs of transporting your own. A used bicycle should also adhere to the same safety regulations as hired bicycles.
If a bicycle is only ridden during daylight hours, it does not need a lamp or reflectors. However, if there is a chance it could be ridden at night on public roads, then it should have:
- A rear lamp
- White front lamp
- Red rear reflector
- Amber or orange reflector on the back of each pedal
- A colourless front reflector
The reflectors need to be clean, securely attached, and visible from every possible direction. A safe bicycle can ensure an enjoyable cycling holiday.