The number of cars and motorbikes on the road are on the rise. Cities are getting incredibly congested with high rise buildings and vehicles. On your drive to work, you’ve probably seen a bunch of office goers on bicycles zipping past you, while you’re stuck in traffic. Seeing this it has also probably crossed your mind that you too could start biking to work.
Biking to work not only helps the environment and saves money on gas, but can also help you stay fit, healthy and burn a few extra calories. Despite these obvious reasons to start. Most people can’t.
So why not start now?
OUR TOP 5 TIPS TO KICK OFF CYCLING TO WORK
1. SET AN ACHIEVABLE GOAL FOR THE MONTH
Is it realistic to start cycling to work every day immediately? probably not. Take baby steps towards your ultimate goal of being able to cycle to work on a regular basis.
Begin by commuting on your bike at least 2 to 3 times a week. As you get comfortable with this and can sustain it, slowly increase the frequency and you’ll soon realize that it’s very easily sustainable. Without a clear goal in mind, you will not be able to make that initial move to begin biking to work. You would want to cycle to work especially if most of your commuting time is spent in traffic. It’ll save you a considerable amount of time.
2. ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET
Always! It’s one of those cycling essentials that you should never leave your house without. It might seem like obvious advice but you’d be surprised as to how many cyclists decide to hit the road without a helmet on. In the unlikely event of an accident, your head is most at risk of injury.
Invest in a good helmet that is comfortable and provides good ventilation. If you’re worried about how your hairstyle might look after a ride to the office, bring a comb along to address the situation once you arrive.
3. DON’T MAKE A BIG DEAL OUT OF CYCLING GEAR AND CLOTHING
As long as you’re wearing a helmet (and a rideable bike), you’re good to go. That’s pretty much all you need with respect to being ready to bike to work.
Changing your clothes at your workplace is a feasible idea if you don’t have too much to carry in your backpack. It’s always more comfortable to cycle in shorts but regular trousers/jeans are ok if carrying extra clothing is an issue. Just make sure you tie up the ends of your trousers (roll them up) to ensure they don’t get dirty.
Considering that most of your riding is going to be within the city, it’s a good idea to invest in an anti-pollution mask.
4. DO A DRY RUN
Doing a dry run on your bike will help you get an idea of how much time commuting will actually take on an everyday basis. It’ll most likely be faster than on a motorcycle or a car. The dry run will also give you an idea of traffic hotspots and how to possibly avoid them.
Find a weekend, start around the same time you would ideally commute to work, carry only the absolute essentials (a wallet only?), map out your biking route using your favorite mapping tool and head out. This is a great opportunity to ride slow, explore better alternative routes that are suddenly available to you since you’re on cycling and find tree-lined, lower traffic roads to your office.
5. RIDE WITH CONFIDENCE
Dominate your space well. Having a small footprint on the road will encourage motorists to push you around. Hugging the curb often encourages drivers to pass closely, which will only increase any nervousness that caused you to do so in the first place – stick to left (in India) – always be prepared to swerve around a pothole or any other obstruction, should the need arise. When approaching junctions, check behind you and move into the center of the lane when it’s safe to do so.
You do need to be comfortable enough on a bike to look behind you and to indicate with one arm to show your direction of travel. When there is heavy traffic, you can filter through but always stay cautious.
5 AWESOME REASONS TO BIKE TO WORK
“Pedal for a change”; when you start cycling on a frequent basis, you’ll notice other lifestyle changes become a habit and eventually a part of life. A change in your eating habits, a change in your approach to traffic and also a change in the way you plan your day.
1. CYCLING MAKES YOU HAPPY
Even if you’ve had a miserable day at work, cranking through the miles will lift your spirits. “Any mild-to-moderate exercise releases natural feel-good endorphins that help counter stress and make you happy,” explains Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation.
Try it out for your self.
2. LOW IMPACT SPORT
Cycling is a safe activity to indulge in for people of all ages. It’s a non-impact sport meaning that it doesn’t put excessive pressure on joints like the knee and the hip. Impact sports include running, basketball football, etc.
Cycling is absolutely great at all ages, for all shapes and in all seasons! How cool is that?
How much better can it get than zero?
Cycling is the most pocket-friendly way to commute – Cycling to work is a very low expense affair. You spend a fraction of the amount spent on fuel and bike maintenance products seem to last forever.
Just think about how much money you end up saving over the span of a year if you simply begin biking to work.
4. FULL BODY WORKOUT
When cycling, especially climbing, riders tend to shift around their body weight a lot. Doing this works out the core, arms, and chest.
Studies from Purdue University in the US have shown that regular cycling can cut down the risk of heart diseases by 50 percent. And according to the British Heart Foundation, around 10,000 fatal heart attacks could be avoided each year if people kept themselves ﬁt.
Cycling just 20 miles a week reduces your risk of heart disease to less than half that of those who do not exercise.
5. TIME EFFICIENT
Cycling to work is always quicker and more efficient on a bicycle than a motorbike or a car. Anywhere in the world.
You can easily filter through traffic and be on the move when everyone else has had to stop. Over a distance, a bicycle can have a huge lead over cars or bikes in the city. Saving time on commuting means you have more time to invest in things that interest you.
Biking within city limits, even in India isn’t as dangerous as people think it is. As long as you can control your bike well and follow the rules of the road. You’ll be just fine.
Remember, always wear a helmet, no matter the distance. Specific bike lanes have been built in many cities to aid cyclists and separate them from motor vehicle traffic. Cycling to work does more good than harm considering all aspects. Costs are near 0 when commuting by bike, time is saved and, you’re doing your bit by contributing to lower emission levels. Give it a shot!
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WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CYCLING
I’m an avid mountain biker and I like riding fast and flowy singletrack. As I keep riding, I continuously work on honing my riding skills. I like to ride whenever possible, especially with friends. I also like to influence folk into getting to ride more often.
Working on bicycles has also been a keen interest of mine for quite some time.
DISCIPLINE: Mountain biking and Road biking
CURRENT BIKE: RockRider 5.3 & Specialized Allez Elite DSW
DREAM BIKE: Santa Cruz 5010