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Students share their top 10 tips for cycling at uni

23rd September 2014

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Heading off to uni for the first time is both an exciting and daunting time, and one of the biggest challenges you’re likely to face is a tight budget. 

UK students spend an average of £1,524 or (6% of their yearly budget – urgh...) solely on transport, so getting on your bike is a good first step to make the pounds go further.

CTC, the national cycling charity, recently spoke to students cyclists from the universities of Greenwich, Leicester, Nottingham and Goldsmiths College, asking what their advice would be to first year students thinking of getting a bike.

1. It’s so quick. You’re not in traffic,you are traffic!Only you are out on your bike, in the fresh air, getting exercise and getting where you need to go quickly. You can control the time it takes to get to places, and do those journeys easily that are sometimes difficult by public transport.

2. Save ££££. Even with a student travel card, you are likely to be clocking up a few journeys during the week going to uni, work or visiting friends. Going by bike could easily save you £10-20 per week, which adds up to quite a bit of money over the year.

3. Get a good lock. These days most campuses have good or decent cycle facilities, however, bike theft, especially in more urban areas, is a sad fact. The problem is best dealt with by getting a quality lock. CTC suggest a lock with the rating of Gold.

4. Consider second hand. You may have your eyes on something shiny, but for an everyday commuting bike it may be more practical to go second hand - it’ll be less attractive to would be thieves and easier on your pocket.

5. Think spin not gym. Regular riding can also easily replace the need for a costly gym membership.

6. Find others who cycle. Join a local cycle club or chat to other students who cycle and you’ll soon have found some likeminded friends to ride with.

7. Get cycle training. If you feel unsure about riding on busy roads, gaining confidence through cycle training and knowing correct road positioning keeps you safe. Some universities, like Manchester, offer free cycle training – check with your student union.

8. Be seen. Make sure your bike is fitted with lights and remember there are blind spots around large vehicles, so take extra care around buses and trucks.

9. Dress for success. A decent waterproof jacket, rucksack or pannier set will mean you and your things stay dry when the weather does… well, what it does.

10. Accidents happen, no matter how careful you are. You could be liable for hundreds, if not thousands of pounds if you collide with a pedestrian or car. Replacing even a wing mirror on a £60,000 BMW is an expensive prospect. CTC’s student insurance is £16 a year and gives you Third Party insurance, legal claims advice and much more.

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