As a family that rides bikes everyday, I have been asked by a number of people for some advice on family cycling in Shrewsbury. Here are some useful points…
1. Cycling is the perfect activity for travel and leisure during social distancing and these strange days. It’s easy to stay away from people and groups on a bike!
2. Shrewsbury has some great cycle lanes and quiet roads. The roads are even quieter during lockdown you just need the confidence to go out!
3. If you are riding with children, are new to cycling or returning to cycling after years away… keep it simple, don’t be over ambitious and stay close to home for the 1st rides. Build up your confidence by riding in your Garden if you have space or at your local park.
4. Use the cycle lanes for roads that have them or the pavement if you have little ones. Just be respectful of pedestrians, most people don’t mind especially if you are with children.
5. If you’re riding on the road, be mindful of your surroundings. Don’t ride in the gutter, where there is lots of road furniture to make you wobble, like drains and man hole covers. Give yourself some space and control your space and then motorists will respect that. It takes practice, but once you get more experience you’ll be flying to work, school or play!
6. Make sure your bike is mechanically sound. If you are unsure, take it to one of the local bike shops. Most are open as essential services. A helmet and gloves are essential plus carry some water and a snack for energy. A pump, multi tool and spare inner tube are also very useful if you are feeling adventurous.
7. I always wear bright clothing, so you can be seen. It doesn’t have to be Lycra… just normal people in normal, comfortable clothes.
8. In Shrewsbury we have the Quarry and the ride out to Uffington which is a perfect route to practise on. There are also some lovely short rides to Mousecroft Pond along Nobold Lane and many cycle lanes that crisscross the town.
9. The secret to riding with Children is prep. Get the bikes lined up and ready to go and have their kit ready so you bounce out quickly. Have a plan, an end destination or an ice cream or treat incentive en route. For Adults a pub stop is a great option!
10. When riding from home, have 1 adult at the front or the eldest child and 1 adult at the rear so you book end the little ones and can control them in a mini rolling Peloton. Make all hand signals bold and visible.
Talk to each other, communicate, chat and sing. It’s a great way of encouraging riders and letting pedestrians know you are around.
Have fun guys! Riding bikes is an amazing way to see the town, it gives you a totally different perspective… visually, spiritually and psychologically!
See you on the roads guys!
At the end of all this madness, we will be running some group and family guided rides!
If you have any questions, let me know. I will be going into this further in the next My Shrewsbury magazine with some specific routes for getting out of town into the wonderful Salopian countryside!
Viva la revolución