We all know there are many good reasons to cycle to work – from saving money and getting fit, to losing weight and reducing your carbon footprint – but riding your bicycle to work will also help you learn a few other useful things.
Here’s our top five – feel free to add your own below.
Traveling on public transport, it’s easy to lose track of where you’re going. Geting to work on the London Underground is a case in point. It’s amazing how many people don’t realise that Covent Garden and Leicester Square are only a 5-minute walk from each other.
Even if you take the bus or drive, you’re likely to stick to the main roads and have little idea about the rest of the town or city where you live.
As soon as you start riding your bike to work, especially if you seek out some quiet routes, you’ll learn how the different parts of your town or city link together.
With this new knowledge of where you live, you’ll also start to realise that public transport routes can’t take you everywhere, and often take you a really long way around. A journey that takes two buses and 45 minutes by bus, could actually only be a 15 minutes by bike.
If you are a traveling around London and have a fold up bike you can take it on any tube at any time. If you are on a normal bike you cannot take it on the tube between 0730 and 0930 or between 1600 and 1900 and outside of that only on particular tube lines. For detail on tubes you can take it on check the following page: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/bicycle-tube-map.pdf. Taking a bike onto a bus is entirely down to the driver.
For those living in towns and cities, cycling to work will often take you away from the main roads, perhaps on to a towpath or a bicycle track.
You’ll discover that there are actually plenty of pockets of nature thriving in the urban landscape. It’ll brighten up your morning hearing the sound of birdsong or spotting a local fox on his way to bed.
3. The weather
When traveling by car or public transport, the weather doesn’t matter so much. For most of your journey to work, you’ll be heated and under cover. On the other hand, by bicycle you have to consider what to wear to suit the weather which means you’ll become much more aware of its patterns.
You’ll soon realise how to interpret the weather forecast. A rain cloud doesn’t mean you’ll get wet cycling to work – it just means that there is a bit of rain at some point that day. You’ll be unlucky if you get caught in it.
If you pay attention, you’ll soon be able to have a decent guess at the weather from a glance up at the sky.
Not only will regularly riding your bicycle to work help to get you fit, it will also teach you a lot about your body and how far you can push it.
When you first start cycling, you need to take it relatively easy, but as your body adapts to the increased levels of exercise, you’ll start to feel how far you can go.
On some energetic days you’ll want to cycle to work and back, and maybe even add an extra loop on for good measure. While on others you might be feeling tired, so leave you bike locked up at work and get the bus home.
To really enjoy your cycle to work, it’s important to tune into your body’s signals. A tired cyclist isn’t usually a happy one. So pay attention to when you need to rest.
One way to improve your performance in many sports is learning to breath efficiently, and cycling is no different.
Avoid gasping and over-breathing. Inhaling through your nose and out through your mouth helps to keep breathing regular and ensures you don’t take in too much air. Unless your sprinting or taking on a really tough climb, you shouldn’t need to breath in through your mouth at all.
Likewise, it’s really important to breath deep, rounded breaths. This will ensure that you take up as much oxygen as possible when inhaling, and jettison all the carbon dioxide in your exhale. Breathing sharply is much less efficient.
For those just starting out, this can seem quite difficult and awkward but it’s worth persevering as this will really help you get the most out of cycling in the long-term.
- Things to watch out for when road cycling
- Report says cycling to work can reduce carbon emissions
- Get fit by cycling to work
- How much can I save by cycling to work?
- More than a third of Amsterdam bicycle to work