You’ll need a few bits of gear
The two things you will need to ride are simple – a bike and a helmet. Get the best bike you can for your budget and it will serve you well. Think about how you’ll use your bike to determine what kind of bike to get – eg, a road bike, mountain bike, ebike or commuter bike. If you aren’t sure, talk to your local bike shop.
The other things you will need are:
- white front and red rear lights that are visible from at least 200m away
- a lock
- hi-vis jacket
- puncture repair kit.
You might also want a rain jacket and mudguards if you think there’s a chance you will be riding in wet weather.
Check your bike before you ride. Check out NZTA’s seven-step guide to ensure you have a safe ride.
Practise your route
Generally, the best roads to ride on aren’t the ones you’d drive on When you’re starting out, it’s a great idea to scout out a route that will work for you. Find streets with cycleways, are quieter and have easy access to where you want to go. Then on your weekend take your bike out for a spin. You’ll feel much more comfortable doing it the next time. Cyclists know great shortcuts in our region so ask around and we’re sure they’ll tell you their tips and tricks.
Practice makes perfect
If you’re just starting out, or you’ve had a decent break from being on two wheels, it’s important to practise. Instead of getting on the road and having to deal with stress from other road users, head to a local park or residential streets while you build your confidence.
Share with care
That’s the message we’re pushing for everyone who uses our roads, whether you’re cycling, driving, or on a motorbike. We all need to be conscious of each other so we can all get home safely.
Here are some of our tips for staying safe on your bike
- Wear bright colours and use lights: If you can be seen, then you’ll be safer
- Watch out for car doors opening, pedestrians, and dogs
- Wave and make eye contact with other road-users
- Be ready to stop quickly – especially around parked cars and queued traffic
- Check your bike regularly. Just like a WoF, check that your brakes, tyres, chains, lights and reflectors are in good condition.
Plan for punctures
Punctures are a fact of life whether you ride a bike or drive a car. We all know that they tend to happen at the most inconvenient time, so come up with a plan ahead of time for what you’ll do.
You could learn how to fix it. Spare inner tubes are small, light and easy to carry around. Some of our buses in the city have bike racks attached so you can always get close to home as well.
Some extra tips for rural rides
- Plan your route and carry a map if it’s unfamiliar territory
- Carry food, water and some basic gear for repairs
- Check your bikes brakes, tyres, chain, lights and reflectors before you set out
- Watch and listen for approaching vehicles, pedestrians, farm animals, potholes and other potential hazards
- Know how to safely approach rail crossings, roundabouts, intersections, descents, one-lane bridges and loose gravel roads
- Pull over to allow vehicles to pass if you’re feeling nervous