We have a scoop for you today… Andreas Kambanis writes one of London’s most popular cycling blogs, London Cyclist. He produces all manner of interesting, and most importantly, useful advice for cyclists. From what is going on in London to great tips like how to get your shirt to work un-creased. Here he tells us about his adventures blogging, and shares some of his top tips…
Why did you start the blog?
When I first started bike commuting to work in London I had questions. Such as “How do I get my shirt into work uncreased?” “What bike lock should I buy?” I didn’t know who to ask so I turned to Google. Flicking through the results it seemed there was plenty out there for those more hardcore cyclists but little for the everyday, you and me. So I set about creating a site that would answers all those cycling questions and more.
What is best piece of information you’ve heard for cycling?
I hate the statement “it changes my life” but this advice really did change my life. I went to do a cycle training course and I was given some basic tips that make a huge difference to my daily safety on the road. The first is to glance behind my shoulder so that I’m never surprised of cars overtaking me and I make them realise my position on the road. The second is to never allow a car to overtake me unless I feel comfortable in allowing them to do so. Therefore, I take a more primary position on the road. Finally, always wait in the middle of a road at a junction so that a car has to wait for you to move off first.
What advice would you give to a new cyclist?
Never leave your bike anywhere without two locks attached to it. Follow basic safety advice such as never overtaking a vehicle on the inside as it may be turning and not see you. If you still don’t feel safe then take a cycle training course. They are one-on-one, professional and they are free. Also, make sure you check out cycle cafe’s such as look mum no hands. You are part of the gang now!
Any tips on the best gear for cyclists?
Couldn’t possibly live without my Kryptonite New York lock. Keeps my bike out of the hands of thieves. Other than that? My iPhone together with a bike mount on my handlebars is my saviour. I use it to get directions, repair my bike and track all my cycling keeping me motivated to do more.
What kind of bike/bikes do you ride?
Up until very recently I’ve only ridden a tatty old hybrid bike that no one wants to steal. It looks horrible, rides great and never complains. But recently I’ve ridden fixed, road bikes and mountain bikes. It’s hard to resist the speedy charms of my road bike but it looks way too steal-able for daily use.
Do you have a favourite place to ride in London?
I enjoy the challenge of getting somewhere on my own steam. Most of my favourite routes therefore are one’s that take me out of London and to far away and interesting places. Ideally, via quiet country lanes and pubs. In London I love any road that allows me to pick up some speed.
What is your favourite thing about riding a bike?
It’s so cheap and you can turn up right at the door of the destination without worrying about delays or traffic. The bikes gives me freedom to explore and opens up London.
What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you whilst riding your bike?
One moment that stands out is pedalling through Camden on a sunny day and an intoxicated man with tattoos all over his body stood in-front of my bike and asked me if I was “one of them”, pointed to the sky and asked if I can take him with me. Hmmm…