Ride to work need not involve cycle lanes, tarmac and dodging traffic. Depending on where you live – why not get some muddy fun on the way? Here’s our tips for an MTB off-road to work.
Plan your route
Look at your usual road commute, are there any surrounding areas of greenery? These could have the potential for adding a little bridleway, common-land or park fun. At worst, can you tag in a bit of relaxing canal tow path to get off-road and miss a busy bit of tarmac? Drawing an imaginary line from home to work on Google maps satellite view, might just throw up a decent alternative. Keep it legal though, remember footpaths and people’s gardens are out of bounds.
Smell the Roses
If your workplace doesn’t have showers, you will need to improvise a quick freshen up. Wet wipes and deodorant can make most people smell pretty normal. Remember to use discretion when drying out shorts in a small, packed office. It is easy to cause offence amongst non-bike-rider colleagues. It might be worth taking fresh clothes to change into in a backpack, include a fresh base layer for the ride home.
Fun on the run
Incorporating trickier bits of riding in your commute will help break up the ride and develop your skills. Steps, for example, can be a bit like riding a jarring root section or riding over rocky terrain, practise absorbing the steps through your body. If you can get some decent off road sections into your commute, take different lines through the sections each day, style it up and have fun, just in-case work isn’t that much fun… Don’t get carried away though – remember to turn up for work and not head off on an extended ride.
Modern lights kick out more than enough light to light up the darkest trails to a decent level. Many also feature USB charging – perfect for plugging in when you get to work. Lezyne Macro Drive XL 800 / Strip Drive Pro lights feature a powerful front light (7 settings up to 800 lumens) and long battery life.
A lock is an essential bit of kit for your ride to work unless you are lucky enough to be able to park next to your desk. The Abus 420 Ultimate D Lock features a soft touch cover to protect your bike. A 14mm shackle is strong enough to resist cutting and torsion attacks.
Getting a horn is a good way of letting people know that you are there and scaring off wild animals / dogs. The Hornit DB140 cycle horn will definitely alert people to your presence.
Pedal it Out
Regardless of the surface your ride to work is on, use the ride to think about how you ride, and focus on key aspects. Pedalling in smooth circles, for example, rather than just stomping down on the pedals will add efficiency to your riding. Even flat pedal die hards could benefit from a pair of SPD’s for the commute to improve pedalling efficiency and smoothness.
If possible, have a couple of alternative routes to vary your rides into work. Adding an extra loop for the summer evenings or a Friday night treat. Think of your commute as an extra time bonus on the bike, use it to iron out or improve aspects of your riding – this will improve your weekend rides too.