Bristol Cycling Tips

Bristol Cycling Tips

Cycling, maintenance, advice

Bike Maintenance Tips

See videos here! Including safety checks, innertube replacement, brake adjustment and gear indexing.

How to avoid being'doored'

This is an avoidable yet serious cause of up to 10-20% of cycling collisions*. Has this happened to you? The issue is that as a cyclist you'll have no warning of a door opening as a driver or passenger decides to get out without checking. Read more here.

Curb it

Mind your curbs! I've been hearing of a lot of crashes caused by cycling up curbs. This is especially likely if you are not riding up it perpendicular at 90 degrees. It's best avoided anyway as it's not great for your wheels and if your tyre is under inflated you risk puncturing the innertube. Wet weather increases the chances of the wheels skidding as you try and hop up a curb. The other place I hear there's a lot of accidents are on the train tracks by the M shed / near Wapping Wharf. This type of accident is easily avoided again by riding at 90 degrees over train track or avoiding them all together.


Find out more about how to avoid these deflating mishaps! Read more here.

Bristol cycling routes

See safe and enjoyable routes in the city here. We have an interactive map listing paths, cafes and bike shops.

Should my child ride with stabilisers?

Many children's bikes come with stabilisers and they have been widely used for years but we’ll explore if they are good for your child's cycling development. Stabilisers are a quick way to get your child on a bike and pedaling but they won't really have learnt how to cycle.

Riding a bike involves the whole body with balance and core strength guiding the bike through the seat, pedals and handlebars. Like walking, cycling requires riders to coordinate muscles in a complex way to stop them falling. Stabilisers remove the need for a child to engage the muscles and balance required, which although is a temporary fix, will not help them make progress beside turning the pedals in the correct direction (which can be useful).

Book a lesson to help your child to cycle here or find out more about our courses.

Keeping a bike balanced requires an interesting bit of control. As you ride, the bike will essentially learn and start to fall to the left or to the right. To prevent this becoming a full fall, the rider actually needs to turn the handlebars towards the lean. This then allows a rider to turn while at the same time preventing the fall. By turning towards the fall sufficiently, the lean will stop and they will straighten up. Cyclists are constantly doing this in a barely noticeable way - continually making micro adjustments. This skill must be developed by the rider feeling the sensation of leaning and through trial and error will find that turning at the right time will keep them balanced.

Stabilisers however stop a bike leaning with interesting results. It will require the rider to turn left to go left, whereas with a bike without stabilisers, they must first lean in the direction they wish to go. To initiate a lean to the left they must actually turn right slightly which causes the bike to start to fall to the left. This is called ‘counter steer’. Therefore on a bike with stabilisers a rider is learning to turn the handlebars exactly the wrong way.

There will also be a potentially significant emotional issue trying to remove the stabilisers as the child may feel they have taken a step back and be upset that they can no longer pedal. Instead it is recommended that a child start on a balance bike or if they have a pedal bike, the pedals can be removed to become a balance bike (and stabilisers removed). Once a child has spent some time ‘scooting’ about on a balance bike they should begin showing improvements and if they can ‘glide’ with their feet in the air they are getting ready to progress.

Get in touch to book a lesson where we can undo bad habits caused by stabilisers and get your child cycling often within an hour.

It turns out stabilisers can prevent your child learning to balace and hamper more.