How cycling will develop as we come out of lockdown
Lockdown changed a lot of habits - one of them being the resurgence of exercising in the great outdoors. Cycling is one such sport that has seen a rise in the numbers taking part and we wanted to know what this means for the future of this popular activity? We asked Catherine Bedford, of Dashel - the sustainable cycle helmet company - what trends she sees emerging in cycling.
You can see it wherever you go, people dusting off old bikes to enjoy the outdoors when
they’re taking their daily exercise; families are cycling out together; and friends are going for socially distanced bike rides. And now with more people returning to work, increasing number of people are planning to commute by bike. But, where does the revival of cycling go now? How is cycling likely to develop? Cycling style I think that, as people cycle more there will certainly be a move towards wearing clothes than contain more natural fibres. For people commuting to work, this will ensure they don't arrive at their workplace feeling and look hot and sweaty. People will be far keener to wear cotton than polyester for example. Being out in nature means that cyclists tend to have more of a connection to the environment than they might otherwise and an interest in sustainability. Lockdown has meant that people have become accustomed to living in fewer outfits and I think this will persist or, I suspect, the growth of buying less but better. I would always go for comfort over fashion but, if you want to be a fashionable cyclist, there is plenty of great stylish fashion wear out there and I think as people get more used to cycling as a way of life they will find their own cycling style.
Also, when new cyclists realise how much money they are saving on car expenses or bus and train costs, they might start to invest those savings in specialist of stylish kit. Everyone should pick and choose what works for their cycling journey.
Scandi-fashion If we consider the Netherlands, for example, cycling is a much more relaxed pastime. They go at sensible speeds and enjoy their surroundings as they cycle, arriving at the destination without being out of breath, sweaty or exhausted. Also, as we learn our routes and realise that they are probably much more direct than the road of tube routes we have been so accustomed to, we will find our journeys are not as long as we had thought they would be. I think we will become much more like the Scandinavians in our cycling. I also suspect our personal style will follow suit, away from stereotypical cycling clothes towards more stylish looks. Brands such as Dashel, Hill & Ellis and Finisterre will increasingly be seen.
Stay safe Safety is crucial, particularly in the winter months, and being as visible as possible to other road users is essential. Cyclists should ensure that they are legal and as safe as they can be while sticking within their budgets. For example, you must have lights on your bike, this is a legal requirement. However, you could also add a light to your helmet to make you more visible to motorists, particularly drivers of 4x4s which are much higher up. Although helmets are not legally required, they really are extremely important for safety. If you aren't a fan of the traditional helmet shapes, there are some nice stylish ones out there these days!
New cyclists probably haven’t realised yet that there are more routes than they would have imagined where they can cycle away from cars. There are cycle lanes to help keep you safe and there will be more as, post-Covid, the government is planing to invest in further infrastructure. Will this fad last? I do think this new found love of cycling will endure. Once people realise the benefits of cycling, they will be happy to carry on. For a start, if you're cycling to work you're getting your daily exercise in at a time when you would have previously been sat on a bus or train. This in turn saves you time going to the gym in the evening, freeing you up to spend time with your loved ones - which many of us have appreciated event more over the lockdown period. And we know that exercise generally makes you feel good by raising endorphins but, when cycling, it really helps you unwind on your way home from work. Because you have to concentrate on the roads you have to switch off from the niggles of your day. Thus, you can clear your head on your way home from the office and arrive home feeling fresher, happier and more relaxed. I also believe there will be a rise in e-bikes and e-scooters, meaning you don't have to arrive at the office sweaty. They will come to be seen as an affordable commodity, when compared to the price of a second car of travel card. Impact of winter weather I can see that the idea of cycling in the rain, cold and other British winter weather variables isn’t as appealing as summer cycling. However, it's as simple as putting on over-trousers and a raincoat or a fashion-forward poncho if it isn't too windy. If you’re commuting by public transport, you’ll get wet at some point anyway, especially if you are queuing outside tube stations to observe social distancing. Even walking from the car park to your office is unlikely to find you bone dry! Of course, folding bikes, such as the Brompton, are popular for many reasons. For example, if you it into work and the weather deteriorates to the point where you really can't face riding home, you can fold it up and carry it onto the bus, train or taxi. In fact, once you have started winter cycling, you’ll realise very quickly that our winters aren’t really that extreme. Le's face it, we're not in Canada or New York! The exercise itself keeps you warm, plus you have the added bonus that, with all those extra calories you're burning you can totally justify some good stodgy food to give you warmth and energy for your wide. To all new and returning cyclists, I have one thing to say: Enjoy!
About the author Catherine Bedford is Founder of Dashel. Dashel offers a range of slim, ventilated, lightweight cycle helmets manufactured in the UK. With a distinctive urban feel Dashel helmets are made from recyclable materials - ensuring they are low impact at the point of manufacture and produce very little waste at the end of life.
The new Re-Cycle helmet will be ground down into new helmets at the UK factory when it is finished with.
The helmets are portable, sold packaged in a handy rucksack that means there is no superfluous packaging. They come in an array of colours - choose from black, blue, sage green and red.
Dashel helmets are £79 and available from all good cycle shops and online at Dashel.co.uk
Follow Dashel Web: https://www.dashel.co.uk Instagram: dashelcyclehelmets Twitter: @dashelcyclehelmets Facebook: facebook.com/dashelhelmets Pinterest: dashel cycle helmets LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/catherine-bedford-b55a883