Build your cycling skills and ride with confidence

With the right conditions and infrastructure, it really should be as easy as riding a bike for everyone to enjoy the freedom of cycling. However, if you want to go further, take more direct routes, or be more confident as you cycle, it can be helpful to spend some time thinking about how you cycle, or to do some training in person. On this page, we’ve listed some useful tips, and linked to some training playlists, book resources and courses you might want to look at.

Top tips

  • Plan every movement based on what you both can and can’t see. Look and think ahead.
  • Position yourself prominently. In the centre of the lane if you can keep up with traffic and also when it would not be safe for you to be passed, such as at the approach to a traffic island.
  • Change your position on the road gradually, ensuring that you will not conflict with anyone else.
  • Look behind and signal before moving across traffic. However, be cautious signalling left turns in case it encourages someone to overtake and cut in.
  • Change your position on the road gradually, ensuring that you will not conflict with anyone else.
  • Look behind and signal before moving across traffic. However, be cautious signalling left turns in case it encourages someone to overtake and cut in.
  • Never ride up the inside of a long vehicle, especially near a road junction.
  • Keep off pavements (footways) wherever possible: they are a common location for cyclist injuries. You will usually be safer on the road. Take care even if you use a footway signed for cycling, especially at road junctions and accesses where drivers may not notice you.
  • On country lanes, use your ears as well as your eyes to detect traffic.

Websites and books

Cycling UK have a comprehensive range of advice for beginners, as well as videos that help you build your skills across a wide range of areas from daily cycling tips to basic bike maintenance.

British Cycling also have a great range of articles, with extra advice for race cycling. Their YouTube channel includes some useful playlists, particularly ’Commute Smart’, which is also full of helpful tips for utility cycling (just getting around on a bike)

Cyclecraft

CYCLECRAFT is by our own John Franklin, a member of C&TCC.

The definitive guide to safe and enjoyable cycling. Closely associated with the National Standard for Cycle Training and Bikeability, and with a focus on teaching ‘vehicular cycling’

Published by The Stationery Office (publishers of the Highway Code). Latest 2020 edition; ISBN 978 0117037403

Courses

Bikeability offer a full range of courses, from beginner through to building your skills to ride in diverse road environments. There are also additional opportunities for learning skills for riding in groups or with children.

TfL (Transport for London) have a four module online course covering getting ready to ride, first time on the road, building your skills and cycling with children. Free.