I was recently talking to a few people about commuting, they told me that for a number of reason they don’t ride to work but would like to. These were the most common reasons they all said.
These are issues I hear all the time and it got me thinking that maybe some people are just unaware that if you ride a properly prepared bike you can overcome all of these things and save money. So today lets address these commonly raised issues and discover some interesting ways to overcome them.
I need to transport items long distance
This one is indeed an issue when you think of a traditional bike however there are two very simple and common products on the market that are available to overcome this problem.
Panniers are bags that are designed to fit on a bicycle rack that is mounted to either the front or the back of the bike, they are relatively cheap items to purchase and come in many styles that can hold a variety of items like tools, food, documents and laptops.
Bike trailers are basically storage units on wheels, they come in a few different designs that normally attach to the rear wheel axle or seat post of your bike and are pulled along as you ride. Although the bike trailer is generally the more expensive option of the two they have a greater storage capacity.
I don’t feel fresh after riding and there are no showers where I work
This is an annoying problem as most work places do not have any shower facility however there are ways to over come even this problem and the two most common are
Change of clothes
I have found myself in this situation before however a bit of pre planning can get you out of it, as long as your bike has some luggage carrying facility’s you can ride to work in some suitable clothing like cycling jersey if its warm and carry your work clothes in your bags, as long as there is somewhere to change like a toilet this will work well.
Shower in a can
Don’t worry this is not literally a pop up shower, this is a foam based product that comes in a can. It allows you to have a dry show without the need for water or even a towel, (although I would still recommend to carry a small towel) it works by killing odor germs on your skin making you feel fresh and stopping you from smelling bad.
I need to get to work quickly
Although a bike is not going to out race the car any time soon any person that works in a city or built up area like London knows that the traffic on the roads and public transport in rush hour can be jam packed. However for a bike these are not issues and using a bike can shave a large amount of time off your commute, as with anything getting the right type of bike will make a difference to your speed and comfort. Depending on your route and style preference these are the most common types of bikes for commuting.
Hybrids have many variations on there design to suit your needs but as a rule of thumb the thinner and lighter the bike the quicker it will be on road, bikes build for comfort are generally wider design and can come with suspension.
Road racing bikes
Road racing bikes are easily identifiable by the drop down handle bars, these bikes are the quickest on the road however what you gain in speed you may lose in comfort.
Mountain bikes are designed for off road riding so if your route goes though a forest or rough ground then this is the type of bike for you, these bikes can be used on road but their added weight and thick tires can slow you down.
I think after riding I will be tired
Many people say to me “but I will be tired before I even start work” although riding can takes up some energy depending on the route you take. I find that when I ride compared to driving, I get to my destination more awake, ready to work and generally feel happier because I have taken in fresh air and have increased my fitness a little. Whereas if I chose to drive to the same location I am stopped in traffic a lot of the time in a hot car which makes me feel tired and decreases my fitness a little.
I don’t want to get wet
The British weather is not always very predictable and sometimes it rains, however we are resilient and there is a vast range of waterproof clothing on the market now days meaning you can buy anything like overshoes, jackets, gloves and trousers that will keep you dry and warm in those winter months.
So other than the above there are even more advantages
Health: Riding helps maintain a fitness level, keeping your body healthy and meaning you don’t need to spend as much time (if at all) in the gym.
Friendly cycling community: Becoming a commuter cyclist means you are joining the cycle commuting community and some of my friends have met friends and partners just by riding the same route as them to work. So if you want to meet some friends (and possibly a partner) this is where you need to be.
Money: Riding saves money, you can see a clear financial benefit to riding when you look how much public transport and my car would cost me to commute per year.
These figures are worked out from my average commute of 2400 miles a year
Driving my car – Fuel cost for a year = £312 (this does not include tax, MOT, insurance or maintenance)
Public transport – Oyster card per year = £672
Riding my bike – Travelling cost = £0 (only cost is two services a year £80)
So jump on your bike, join us and spread the word.
If you have any other queries please get involved and leave a comment.