How to enjoy life on and off the roads – with your bike insured and protected
Cycling is one of the UK’s fastest growing and most-loved past-times. Thanks to the success of athletes such as Bradley Wiggins, Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton in the Olympics, cycling has an extremely high profile in the UK and the growth of cycling clubs, mountain bike trails and off-road routes means that protecting your bike is also a serious issue.
The rise of the bicycle and its raised profile does come at a cost, however. The Guardian reported in 2011 that bike thefts were up to 533,000 bike thefts a year – a significant increase which looks set to continue as more and more quality models flood the market and replace cars, especially in UK cities and busy towns.
In August of this year, the BBC also announced that bike thefts in London were up a third in five years – with 26,000 bicycles reported stolen in 2011. This doesn’t even count the number of unreported thefts, which are also estimated to number in the 1000s.
Finding the right bike is one thing, but getting it insured is another. You can get hold of bicycle insurance packages in a similar style deal to your regular car insurance packages – involving accidental damage cover, as well as theft and any breakdown or infrastructural damages issues.
If you’re interested in off-road biking then you are probably a multiple cycle owner; a road-bike for work as a replacement car, and then a mountain bike or hardier vehicle for trails and mountains.
So with your bike insured and your peace of mind set, here’s a few of the best places to get started with off-road biking.
One of the best ways to start is to explore local trails and paths in your nearest national park or forested area. Cannock Chase near Birmingham is a great getaway for those based in the Midlands – easy to get to from the city, with miles and miles of trails and forests. Wales-based adventurers might want to try the Elan Valley in mid-Wales, which runs through Rhayader, a beautiful small town, and the three Elan Valley reservoirs.
For serious off-roaders, or those looking to get involved in competitive cycling or group events. CTC is the UK’s national cycling network and has a great resource of the kinds of events for mountain bikers. The CTC’s suggestions have a huge range of short and long distance events, including mountain bike orienteering and mountain bike marathons or ‘endurothons’ for the hardy ones out there who really want to test their thighs. Always make sure you’ve got a good Ordnance Survey map handy when out on the trails, even in a group, and a small first aid kit and food in case of emergencies.
Information provided to you by Allianz Your Cover.