In a new regular column, Sara Robin, answers all you want to know about cycling. Today she advises on how to get back into cycling...

Q: I haven’t done much cycling for ten years. How do I get my confidence back?

A: First of all make sure you have a comfortable bike in full working order. If you have a bike gathering dust in the shed it might be wise to book it in for a service at a local bike shop.

At the very least pumped up tyres, working brakes and gears are vital.

Check the saddle is the right height, you can do this by sitting on the saddle with one heel on the pedal, when the pedal is at the lowest point your leg should be straight.

Start off on a cycle path or very quiet street so you don’t need to worry about traffic. Make sure you feel comfortable with basic stopping and starting and steering before going further afield.

If you have a friend who cycles regularly a few trips with them could be a big confidence booster.

For example check out the route you will take for a commute or a shopping trip.

There are often cycle routes or short cuts which take you away from the traffic, a website that might help with this is

I just experimented with a trip from my home in South Bank to Huntington on this website and the route looks very tempting across Bootham Stray and on quiet back streets. If you cycle a lot like I do I find I need to think carefully when I get in a car so I don’t assume I can drive over Millennium Bridge or somewhere similar!

A great investment could be a lesson with a National Standards Qualified Instructor from City of York Council’s Road Safety Team. See for the details of Urban Cycle Skills training. The training can be tailored to your level of experience. The lessons are subsidised and the cost is £5, which you are sure to save on petrol or gym membership in no time!

Although urban traffic may seem busy and scary at first, York drivers do expect bikes on the road and make space for them. It is much better to be at least a metre from the edge of the road as drivers can see you more easily and you will avoid glass and holes in the road more effectively.

Happy cycling!


Do you have a question about cycling? Email and we will pass your question on to Sara


About Sara

Sara has been riding her bike in York and further afield since 1980. She initially got into cycling in Australia and worked as a mechanic in two bike shops in Sydney.

When she moved to York Sara was a founder member of York Cycleworks which was set up as a workers coop in 1980 and she worked there in many roles until 2002.

She rides one of her bikes most days and would love to encourage more people of all ages to ride bikes for getting around, shopping, commuting and leisure.