Where I come from, cycling is something you do for fun and it is often too dangerous to use in the city. Never have I thought that I would cycle as a mean of transportation. The moment I arrived in Stockholm, I was shocked by the number of cyclists and the excellent cycling paths throughout the whole city. So, I decided to give it a try. I was lucky to have my friend give me her old bike, a few fixes and I was already hitting the road!
At first, it looked a bit complicated and not very comfortable, to be honest. But now I absolutely love it! I actually look forward to cycling. It’s a great exercise, it is faster than any other means of transportation, it is free and most importantly it is sustainable!
I have learned a lot since my first day on the bike, and I still have things to figure out!
But here are my 5 essentials that you need to know before cycling in Sweden:
1. Safety first: always wear a helmet
Although biking in Stockholm is pretty safe and you always have a cycling path to follow, accidents do still happen. If an accident occurs, you would want to protect your beautiful brain. Never be too lazy! Always wear a helmet. For those of you who hate helmets or care about their hairstyle, you can always get the airbag helmet. It looks like a collar and inflates to protect your head in the event of a crash. Bear in mind that these airbag-helmets needs charging every couple of weeks.
2. Follow the traffic rules
Following the rules is very important to ensure the safety of cars, cyclists, and pedestrians. Always stop at a red light and make sure the road is clear. Also, when turning left or right raise your hand to indicate your direction. This will allow the people behind you to predict your movement.
3. Be prepared for rain
You never know when it will rain! Rain jackets and pants are very useful in order to arrive dry to your destination. You can also get waterproof shoe covers, which allows you to wear those white sneakers you love without any problem.
4. Always bring your lights
Cycling at night or in the dark is easy, most roads are well lit. However, you need to always have working front and rear lights. Using reflective gear is also great for extra visibility. Keep your lights with you at all times as it is important to be visible to cars and other cyclists.
5. Always lock your bike
Finally, I have heard a lot about the bike stealing from my Swedish friends, and I didn’t quite believe them until I saw it with my own eyes. I have seen a lot of wheels without the actual bicycle. Never be too trusting. Always lock your bike, preferably to a bike stand or pole, even if it is under your apartment or in your friend’s courtyard! If you are out cycling in a group, lock your bikes together. It is always harder to steal multiple bicycles than just one.
Here you can find the essentials you need to keep with you at all times!