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5 simple ways to improve walking and cycling

Anyone who has ever lived in a major city knows all too well some of the downsides to urban living. There is overcrowding. There are simply too many people everywhere you go. And then there is the traffic. At certain times of the day, it’s faster to walk or bike than to drive or ride the bus (or the railway system.) If you’re keen on trying out walking or cycling around the city, here are some tips to make your trip more efficient and comfortable.

Give enough time buffer

Let’s face it, walking or cycling won’t get you to your destination quite as fast. There is simply no getting around this other than to drive or take the bus or taxi. It’s better to save your walks and bike rides on days when you have more free time on your hands. If you have to go somewhere and you plan to ride your bike or walk, make sure you give yourself enough time for travel. Obviously, you won’t get stuck in traffic but your pace will be slow. If you think you’re getting to your destination in one hour by walking or 30 minutes by bike, allow 15 to 20 minutes of wiggle room. If you get there right on time, you have a few minutes to cool off or change your shirt.

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Plan your route ahead

Unlike driving or riding the bus, you have to do a little more preparation if you plan on walking or cycling to your destination. This includes route planning. Planning which streets you want to pass is going to make your walk or ride more enjoyable and thereby motivate you to do it more often. Try to choose a route that goes through parks or beautiful buildings in your city. Try to avoid main streets where the traffic can be too overwhelming for a cyclist or pedestrian. Do this even before you leave your house or office on your way home. It helps if you consult Google Maps to see any point of interest you want to include.

Slow your pace

Urban walking or cycling shouldn’t be a race to the finish line (unless you use your commute to train for an athletic event.) This is one major advantage of commuting by bike or by walking – you get to set your own pace and spend a little more time enjoying the urban landscape. Some people bring their voice recorder and camera equipment. If you’re on your bike, try to set an easy yet consistent pace, something you can manage the entire commute. Going too fast will leave you drained and tired when you get to your destination. And if you go too slowly you risk being late. The same thing also applies when you walk.

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Proper attire and equipment for walking and cycling
You will need to be in proper gear and have the proper equipment if you want to commit to walking or cycling around. Obviously, you will need a bike for your commute. Choose one that is just the right size, has enough gear to manage the hills in your commute, and one that requires little maintenance. You will also need to have safety equipment like a helmet, bike lights, a bell, and a bike lock to keep your bike safe. If you are committed to walking, you will need a good pair of shoes, a comfortable outfit (joggers, yoga pants, lightweight top, and maybe a sweater.) And make sure you bring a bottle of water at all times to stay hydrated.

Keep to your lane when walking or cycling

Many cities now have a designated bike lane for cyclists. Stick to these lanes instead of fighting space on the roads. This will ensure your safety on your commutes. For walkers, stick to the pedestrian lane and avoid streets with no or very narrow lanes for pedestrians.

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