How to Survive Living in a Big City Like London

I lived in London for 4 years between 2010 and 2014. London is a great place for walking and cycling. There is a huge amount to explore. Anyone who has been a cyclist in a big city will know how it feels to ride amongst the busy traffic and people on the streets. When I first moved down I applied the following rules and self-help tips.

  • Get a bike. A strong frame with semi-slick puncture resistant tyres. Gears are optional.
  • Keep the bike well maintained. Keep the chain clean by wiping it with a rag and applying oil infrequently as needed.
  • Make sure you are safe on the bike so get a helmet and gloves.
  • Learn to fix your bike. Get a puncture repair kit, pump, tyre lever, allen keys - keep in portable repair kit. For extra help find your local bike shop.
  • Keep your bike safe. Buy a good lock. D-Locks are best.
  • Get a key chain that clips on and holds your keys (incl. bike lock keys).
  • Get a rucksack which is comfortable (alternatively install pannier racks and get pannier bags). Keep a waterproof coat in it, bike kit as described above.
  • Get an A to Z (for old school navigation), keep it in your bag and ask people for directions.
  • Get a large rucksack for shopping trips (alternative - get panniers or a trailer).
  • Shop in local grocers, instead of supermarkets where you can. Plenty of opportunities in big cities.
  • Don't run the red lights
  • Accept invitations.
  • Trust your gut instinct.
  • Don't carry loads of money in your wallet (so you don't spend it).
  • Be friendly.
  • Be observant.
  • Don't get caught out in the rain, unless it is on purpose.
  • Look up at the sky once in a while (good for remembering you are on planet earth & picking out tall landmarks).
  • Be on time.

London Cyclist

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