An increasing number of people are choosing to cycle to work. Is this a trend that you want to embrace, or are you happy with your current daily commute using public transport or your car? While it can seem impossible for some to contemplate cycling to work this year. Even if you can incorporate cycling into only part of your daily commute, you will reap some of the benefits.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider cycling to work.
Improved health and fitness (without taking time out of your day)
If you dedicate just two to four hours per week to moderate exercise, you can achieve a general improvement in your health. Therefore, if you can cycle to work and the journey takes anywhere between 15 – 30 mins each way, you will start to notice a marked improvement in your general health.
Cycling is a low impact form of exercise that is good for your strength and stamina. If you can incorporate it into your daily routine, the health benefits include:
- Increased Cardiovascular Fitness
- Improved joint mobility
- Decreased body fat level
- Prevention or management of disease (reducing the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases)
By cycling to work, you do not take time out of your already busy schedule to fit exercise in. Rather than getting to work while sitting down, you can reap all these health benefits at the same time as getting to work (and back home) on time.
You are in control of your own destiny
Cycling to work is a way for you to be in control of your schedule. You will no longer have to message your boss to say you will be late due to traffic on the roads or train delays. By choosing to cycle to work, you can plan ahead and get to work or home at the time you intended to.
Of course, some things still can go wrong while cycling. However, by being prepared, you will soon be able to get yourself back on the road. For example, when you start cycling to work, you should carry everything you need to repair a puncture. That way, when you do inevitably get a puncture on the city roads, you are prepared and take the small inconvenience in your stride. Remember that worst-case scenario you accept defeat lock your bike up and take public transport for the rest of the journey.
You cannot control the weather, but you can dress for the occasion. If you are prepared, you can cycle to work, come rain or shine. Invest in a high-quality waterproof cycling backpack to keep all your belongings safe. That way you know that no matter how wet you get, your stuff is safe and you will soon be able to dry off. In addition to a waterproof coat, make sure you have a breathable neck gaiter to keep your neck warm on chilly mornings.
Free your mind
Cycling regularly is an excellent way for you to improve your mood and reduce stress. A study in Science Direct found that regular aerobic exercise (such as cycling to work) reduces feelings of anxiety.
You get a feeling of well being after a bike ride. It does not matter how long it is or how intense you are cycling. Imagine if you can arrive to work with that same feeling of wellness, compared to the usual burden of the stress that overcrowded public transport causes.
A study on the impact of bicycle commuting and perceived stress proved that regularly riding your bike to work reduces stress. They found that people commuting by bicycle 4 or more days a week had a lower risk of being stressed than those who cycled less or did not cycle to work at all.
Save money and invest in your future
By harnessing the power of cycling as a mode of transport, you no longer need to part with your hard-earned cash, just to waste it getting into work. Save money on your train ticket, bus fare, petrol and even an overpriced gym membership that you rarely use.
There is the original outlay of buying a bicycle, clothes, a waterproof backpack for cycling and accessories. However, once you have bought all that, it is yours to keep. Work out how much you are currently paying on your annual season ticket for public transport, and you will be amazed at just how quickly you will be in profit. Combine the savings on transportation with the fact that you may no longer need a gym membership, and you end up saving a considerable amount of money.
Here in the UK, there is also a government-backed cycle to work scheme to encourage more people to cycle to work. As long as your employer has signed up to the scheme, you can get a brand new bike and pay monthly directly from your pay. In addition to spreading the cost, you also make a saving through tax reductions. We have written another article to help get your head around this incredible deal for new and seasoned cyclists – Answering your top questions on the UK’s Cycle to Work Scheme.
Overcoming your fears
No one knows what the new year will bring, but now is the time to start preparing to make a positive change in your life. Cycling to work regularly keeps you fit and healthy, reduces stress and anxiety and saves you money in the long term. Remember cycling to work is not the same as a gym session or an intense spin workout. While you commute by bicycle, you can take it as leisurely as you want. It does not have to be a race, just enjoy the experience and embrace the feeling of the wind on your face.
There is no need to be afraid of cycling on the road or thinking that you are too unfit to cycle to work. By getting mentally prepared now, you will overcome your anxieties and embrace all the benefits of cycling to work in 2021.
Have you ever cycled to work? Have you got any top tips for the new cycling commuters out there?