Readers give their advice on how to get the best out of cycling to work
There’s been a revolution in the number of people cycling to work in Britain over the past decade. The benefits of riding into work rather than driving or using public transport are numerous, the most obvious being the cost-saving and health benefits.
However, commuting to work also presents questions and minor problems of its own: Will you get tired? What happens if it rains? What’s the best route in? What about the traffic?
We asked seasoned commuters to pass on their knowledge to those tinkering with the idea of travelling to work by bike, and here we present a selection of the best advice.
Do you have a tip for cycling to work? Share you advice in the comment section below.
Keep some dry gear at work just in case you can’t dry it before your home ride.
Prepare everything the night before: kit, shoes, bike, lunch, whatever you need. You’ll be less likely to talk yourself out of it if you can just get up and go!
Too many cycling commuters start off with great intentions, but after a month of riding to and from work daily become disenchanted as they find they become more and more tired and have had a few soakings. The bike then disappears in to the shed only to appear on eBay one year later. So for a commuter newbie I’d suggest a slow progressive build up, with any variance of days riding to suit.
Week 1, ride to work Tuesday. Leave bike at work. Ride home Wednesday.
Week 2, ride to work Monday, ride home Tuesday. Ride to and from work Thursday.
Week 3, ride to and from work Monday. Ride to work Tuesday and home Wednesday. Ride to and from work Thursday.
Repeat weeks 2 and 3 alternately for a month or so before increasing to a daily commute or as many days as the commuter is comfortable with.
Make sure you secure your bike otherwise your commute just got very expensive.
Step 1: find out if there are showers at work. 2: consider using Google maps to look at alternate routes. 3: drive a variation of different bike routes to and from work a few times to get an idea of dangerous spots and or possible alternative street paths. 4: pack what you’ll need for the day in a backpack or a bicycle pack. 5: ask wife or husband to drop and pick up kids the days you ride. As a trade-off, cook a good dinner those nights. 6: enjoy your ride.
Use lights during the daytime as well as in the dark. They will help to make you visible to other road users.
Don’t fear traffic, always hold your position on the road and only give way when it is safe for YOU to do so.
Cycling gives you a sense of achievement, which leads to a feeling of confidence. When you ride to work, the days’ challenges are taken on with strength and a level of emotional security only instilled after cycling. Ride to be strong and confident.
Want more Money? Then cycle to work. I save a lot of money that would have been spent on petrol for the car or Tube and bus fare. I live in Zone 5 south and travel to Zone 2 north. £200/month savings. However, I spend more now on bike gear and upgrades but don’t tell them that.
If you don’t have a shower at work use baby-wipes. Before you start to ride to work test your route on a day off, it’ll help figure out your timing and remember to allow a few extra minutes in your commute. Just encase you want to stop for coffee or an unfortunate flat tyre.
Be organised: leave your clothes and shoes at work for the next day so you have less to carry on the way in.
Watch: Five foods you should never eat before you ride
Work clothes: For me, I use dresses – easy to roll up and carry, ready to put on. Keep shoes at work. Ditto spare knicks, bra, tights etc. My husband keeps work shirts in the office, takes clean stuff and brings last week’s dirties home all on one day meaning he only carries a back pack once a week.
Don’t use your best equipment and make sure you are prepared with basic tools and a spare tube with pump.
Learn how to ride one handed so you can make decisive obvious hand signals and attach a flashing red light to the back of your helmet.
You can eat as much cake as you like. Guilt free!