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Guest Post: Car to bike: the eco-commuter

Today's guest post from Izzy is right up my alley. I'm all about cycling, using the bus, and finding alternative means of transportation (partly because I am a terrible driver, and partly because it just makes sense). Her guest post is from the point of view of someone used to driving, and outlines the steps you can take to transition from car to bike for your daily commute.

Becoming a cycling commuter doesn't have to mean giving up life on four wheels all together, though, as Izzy - a blogger for PassSmart - is here to tell us!

We all do our bit by putting our rubbish in the correct bins, but if you want to take your eco-friendly lifestyle one step further, you could join the thousands of people who commute via bike every day.

Getting started

If you think you're up to the challenge of cycling to work, you're going to need the right bike! Forget stabilizers and wicker baskets, there is a whole range of modern bicycles out there to suit every kind of commute.

For inner-city commuters a road or hybrid bike is, perhaps, the best option. A road bike is for the really brave, speedy ones; with a light frame and thin tyres, designed for the best aerodynamic performance. A hybrid bike, on the other hand, is suitable for both urban riding and light off-loading. In other words, you can take it out at the weekends for a gentle bike ride (if you really want to!).

Folding bikes are perfect for anyone who doesn't want to ride the whole journey. If you work in the city, for example, but don't live close enough to cycle the whole way, you could pop the bike in the boot of your car. Park just outside of the city to avoid the nightmare of trying to find a parking space, get your bike out, and you're on your way!

Staying safe!

The idea of cycling through a busy town or city might fill you with dread, but, fear not, because we've got a few key safety tips to help you become a safe eco-commuter.

1. Wear your helmet!
No, they're not the height of fashion, but wearing helmet is essential, so buy one!

2. Lights and reflectors
If you're cycling home in the dark, you need to make sure you have bright lights on your bike. You should also have some reflectors, as well as some reflective clothing.

3. Indicate
Make sure you tell cars where you're going before you turn, using hand signals, and always, always look first!

Don't worry - you don't have to give up your car completely!

Changing your lifestyle to involve a bit of life on two wheels doesn't mean you have to give up your life as a driver. Obviously there are going to be times when cycling just isn't practical, so take to the road and - if you really want to - put your bike in the boot.

We'd all like to think we have the will-power to continue cycling into the cold, dark winter nights, but, lets face it, there's going to be days when that's the last thing you want to do. If you're trying to begin a new eco-friendly lifestyle, you could splash out on a new hybrid or electric car, with the fuel money you'll have saved.

If, on the other hand, cycling to work is part of a new, healthy lifestyle, hopping in the car at the weekend will feel like a reward!

Whether you're embarking upon life as a cycling commuter to save money, become a bit more eco-friendly, or to lose the wobbly bits, your bike may hold the key to success. Plan and practice a trial route first, stay safe, and always keep the car keys (or bus pass) ready for a dark, rainy morning!

Izzy Guarella has written this guest post on behalf of; helping learner drivers get on the road in the UK.

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