A while back – whilst in York, , I saw an advert encouraging people to cycle to work. – ‘It only takes 15 minutes to cycle to work – give it a try.’
So inspired by York’s cycling campaign here are 10 good reasons to commute by bike.
1. Save Money
A good bike may cost £200-£400. But, it can last for years. You will save petrol, car parking / bus fares. It can easily add up. In Oxford it would cost £9 to park all day – if you can find somewhere to park. Bike maintenance is likely to be nothing more than a few inner tubes, and new chain and cassette every 3,000 miles. When you take your bike for a service, generally you don’t have to worry about spending hundreds of pounds like for a car.
Cycling is an excellent way to get low impact exercise. If you do very little exercise, cycling will improve your aerobic fitness and help to avoid heart related health problems. If you don’t have time (or the money) to go to a gym, why not try cycling to work / shops. People may worry that cycling is perceived as a dangerous activity. But, the health benefits of lower obesity / lower heart disease e.t.c. far outweigh the risk of accidents. See: How How safe is cycling? – Cycling Statistics
3. Save Time
For many short distance commutes through town, cycling can be quicker than driving or getting the bus. Many of our car journeys are less than 3 miles. If you try cycling, the time is often much quicker, especially in city centres. In commuting periods, you often get traffic jams and cyclists can both help reduce congestion and get there quicker. For me, getting to centre of Oxford, cycling is 5 minutes quicker than driving and 15 minutes quicker than the bus.
Also, a bike is more reliable than public transport, less likely to turn up late. Fate is in your own hands.
4. Lose Weight
Cycling will help you burn calories. – either you can lose weight or eat more, whichever you prefer.
5. Mental Alertness
If you feel sleepy in the morning after a tiring commute in the car, try cycling at a gentle pace. You will find that the cycle helps the circulation and gets you prepared for work. If you spend all day in an office its good to have less time seated immobile and more balance in the day.
6. It’s Fun Cycling
Cycling at a good pace, can release endorphins which help to improve your mood. Cycling is good fun, it’s not all road rage and getting wet.
The bike is the most flexible form of transport, it can squeeze down small alleys and paths inaccessible to cars. It enables you to take a picturesque cycle path to work. You can probably park nearer to the shops / place of work, and you don’t have to worry about avoiding the traffic wardens.
Cycling may sometimes get a bad press in the likes of the ‘Daily Mail’ for the odd lycra lout. But, generally it has a good image. Take it steady – don’t irritate people by jumping through red lights, and generally people
9. Social Benefit
The main reason to commute by bike is for personal reasons. But, if you need altruistic reasons, there are quite a few. You will help reduce pollution, congestion, less damage to road, risk of causing death by motor car. All these help.
10. Different Perspective
Even if you go back to driving, it’s good to give cycling a try. You may be pleasantly surprised, you will definitely have a different perspective on your commute. You will probably find yourself giving more space / time to cyclists – if nothing else…
Reasons people may not want to cycle to work
- Arrive at work hot and sweaty – Remember it isn’t a race. Take it nice and steady. Even if you cycle at the effort level of walking, you will still get there quick. When it’s hot just wear a spare T-Shirt on the way into work, and carry a spare set of clothes in your car. Or get a bike that is a little faster – like a road bike – you will get there with less effort. To be honest, I don’t really sweat cycling into town. And if all else fails, don’t forget the ‘Italian shower’ technique – a bit of deodorant does wonders.
- You may get a puncture on the way to work. If you get good puncture proof tyres, you may puncture once a year, if you’re unlucky. You could get tubeless tyres with self-inflation gel and then you are all set.
- Dangerous. Yes, there is an element of danger, but there is with any method of transport. Cyclists are at more risk, but it has to be kept in perspective and don’t forget the health benefits of cycling.
- Exhaust fumes. I believe you’re just as vulnerable to exhaust fumes in a motor car, I think it may be even worse.
- Intimidated to drive in busy streets. Try these tips for defensive cycling to give yourself more confidence.
- I’m not a cyclist. You don’t have to be a British Cycling 3rd category road racer to commute to town, no more than you have to be a top 10km speed walker to walk into town. Most people who commute to work by bicycle, would not consider themselves cyclists either.
- My bike may get stolen. Just buy a really good lock, and cheapish bike.
- It’s raining. – Waterproof trousers, waterproof jacket and it’s a lot of fun to cycle in the wet (honest!)
- I’ve got a flat tyre – Ring up a mobile bike mechanic or ask a cyclist, they like to show off their bike maintenance skills.