It’s Cycle To Work Day on September 3rd. As its name suggest, it’s a campaign to get more people having a go at commuting by bike.
It’s an event invented and promoted by cycle-to-work scheme provider Cyclescheme. The big idea is to get one million people commuting by bike by the time of the next census in 2021 (the current figure sits at about 760,000).
Previous C2W Days have seen saw more than 20,000 people take part. Riding a total of 256,932 miles. Offsetting 6,821kg of CO2. Burning 12,071,397 calories.
For 2015 they want to increase these numbers. Maybe you can help them.
Why bother cycling to work?
A big reason is the green reason. Fewer cars = less pollution. Which is all very well, but for a lot of people they’ll need some more reasons to bother to ditch the motor vehicle.
Two more reasons: money and health.
The average cyclist saves £285 a month on travel (compared to doing the same journey via other means).
69% of commuters say they have become healthier. With 51% losing weight. And let’s not forget mental health – 54% of riders said their mental wellbeing improved too.
If you’re a keen recreational cyclist already then maybe the best argument is that becoming a commuter means that you have a whole new sphere of cycling to buy a new bike and bits for!
How to give cycling to work a go
If you live more than 20 miles from your workplace then it may not be very feasible for you to cycle to work. You could still possibly take part in Cycle To Work Day though by combining a cycle with a train journey.
Cycle from home to the train station, ride the train, cycle from train station to workplace. Maximum smugness points earned there.
Do you need to fettle your bike?
If you’re fortunate enough to live less than five miles from work then we’d say that you can get away with just using your usual bike as-it-is. Maybe pump the tyres up harder if it’s a mountain bike. Perhaps fit some flat pedals if it’s a bike with clipless pedals on. Make it easy, enjoy the ride.
If you live more than five miles from work then you may benefit from some extra kit tweaking and planning.
Fit your mountain bike with some slick tyres if possible. Dragging a full-on knobbly along for fifteen miles of tarmac can be rather sapping.
Road bikes should be pretty much sorted. You could think about tilting or raising your bars a bit for a more heads-up position.
Pack your usual cycling spares and tools into your work bag.
Before the big day itself check if and where you can store your bike at work. If you have to leave outside then don’t forget a lock. Remove the front wheel and sneak that into work with you for a bit of extra theft deterrent.
Staying safe on the road
Safety is a big concern for a lot of people who haven’t commuted before.
The best way to stay safe on the road is to ride confidently and make your presence known on the road. Don’t skulk along in the gutter – it’s much, much more dangerous than claiming your rightful room.
If you want a bit of extra peace-of-mind from the Smartphone-checking early morning driver, put your bike lights on and maybe wear a bit of hi-vis clothing.
To make sure you carry out your good intention to cycle to work this week perhaps’buddy up’ with a workmate.
You don’t have to ride alongside them or anything. You both just need to promise to ride in. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours etc.
You’ll find it harder to bail out of the ride if you know that you’ll be letting someone else down.
Worried about getting to work all sweaty?
More top tips for your debut commute
Sustainable transport charity Sustrans have some excellent advice.
If your workplace has a shower, keep a bag with a towel, shower gel and other essentials at work.
If you don’t have a shower then leave some cleansing wipes, a small towel and deodorant at work so you can freshen up and change when you arrive.
Take it easy during the last five minutes of your journey to allow your body to start cooling down before you arrive.
If you don’t want to change at work, wear a vest or base layer under your work clothes in case you get sweaty. You can remove it once you arrive, leaving your clothes clean and dry.
Read our previous blog – Top tips for commuting on your bike