Cycle To Work Day is a nationwide bit of cycling promo that’s trying to get more people cycling to work – or at lest trying it out for one day anyway. It’s a simple and good idea.
It’s an event invented and promoted by cycle-to-work scheme provider Cyclescheme*. The bigger 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).
(*What’s the cycle-the-work scheme you ask? Here’s a bit about it.)
Anyway, back to this coming Thursday’s Cycle To Work Day. Last year’s CTW Day saw more than 20,000 people take part. riding a total of 256,932 miles, offsetting 6,821kg of CO2 and burning 12,071,397 calories.
For 2014 they want to increase these numbers. Maybe you can help them. If you’re tempted, this here blog is about the WHYs and the HOWs of giving it a go.
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.
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/saddest argument is that becoming a commuter means that you have a whole new sphere of cycling to buy a new bike and bits for. Woo!
How to give cycling to work a go
Truth be told, 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. If you get the bug for the mixed commute then have a think about getting a cool folding bike from Dahon.
If you live within more a bike-reach of your workplace then you may or may not have to tweak your bike to do the task.
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 or 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. Dragging a full-on knobbly along for fifteen miles of tarmac ain’t fun. You may have to get some narrower inner tubes too if you’re switching from fat tyres to thin ones.
If your bike frame has the relevant mounts, fit a bike rack and bung a pannier bag on there. Carrying all your kit (laptop, change of clothes etc) on your back is sweaty and uncomfortable after a while. Let your bike take the load instead.
Chances are you won’t need lights this Thursday but if you do work unusually early or late hours then get yourself a set of good lights. Modern lights are lovely things. Bright, easy-to-remove, stylish and some can even be charged up via USB. Some of our current favourites are from Knog.
If you can’t blag your way into stashing your bike inside at work then you’ll need a decent lock. Consider removing your front wheel and sneaking it into work though!
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, get yourself a bit of hi-vis.
To make sure you carry out your good intention to cycle to work this week maybe ‘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.
In a similar vein, get on your Social Media and get talking about your intention to cycle to work. Put the pressure on yourself! You know you’ll enjoy it in the end.
Concerned about being all sweaty and stinky at work? 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 under your work clothes in case you get sweaty. You can remove it once you arrive, leaving your clothes clean and dry.
If you end up really enjoying cycling to work then by all means think about getting yourself a shiny new bike for commuting on.
Merlin Cycles have a couple of bikes that come in at a price that’s around the same amount of money that the average commuter saves in a month (£285 remember?)
Quite simply the best road-going bike you can get for the price. It even has a carbon fork. Crazy!
No fuss, no frills, clean lines. Single speed bike ideal for city commutes and urban riding.
See you out there!
Get involved on Thursday. And don’t forget – riding bikes is always ace.