Commuting to work by bike has a huge amount of benefits for both your physical health and mental well-being, plus it saves time and is good for the environment. We’ve been riding to work for years, here are a few things we have learnt.
Don’t get sucked into commuter ‘races’
Some riders like to exert their competitive instinct during the ride to work, accelerating past other riders without acknowledging them and wanting to be first away at the lights. It’s all too easy to react to this and let your own ego engage, after all no one likes being overtaken! In our experience these commuter racers have very little awareness of what is going on around them in terms of other riders or traffic as their focus is purely on speed. By all means go fast if you want to, but do it on your own terms. Don’t let other riders make you feel under pressure to ride faster by breathing down your neck.
Ride with a friend
Remember when you were a child and you called round for your friends to walk to school together? Why don’t we do that more as adults? It’s a chance to have a few friendly moments of chat before the busy working day begins, plus the commitment to meet a friend means you are more likely to stick to your intentions of riding to work.
Smile and wave
Making eye contact and smiling can help diffuse tense situations with other commuters and helps to ensure that drivers acknowledge you and are aware of your road positioning. But it’s not just for safety, a smile and a wave can spread a little happiness and sense of community. We find that commuting regularly on the same route you often see the same people. Over time that small daily connection with them becomes something to look forward to and exchanging a quick wave and a smile brightens everyone’s day.
Invest in good kit
Arriving at work wet and cold is a sure-fire way to put yourself off riding to work but with some decent kit there is no reason to be a fair-weather cyclist. Waterproof, warm and protective clothing will make you feel more comfortable and your journey will be more enjoyable. You don’t have to dress head to toe in Lycra, there is loads of clothing designed to look like ‘normal’ casual wear that still works as well as technical clothing. Buying a really good waterproof jacket transformed our attitude to rainy days.
Vary your route
Cycling the same route every single day is an excellent way to make commuting feel like a chore. Having a few different options keeps boredom from setting in and helps keep you alert to your surroundings. You can choose different routes to make your commute into a training ride, may be throwing in the occasional longer ride or picking the hillier route home. Over time your body gets used to the ride and what may have felt hard at first starts to feel easy. By changing your route regularly to include different challenges you can use the simple task of getting to work to keep improving your fitness.