How To Tackle Your First Cycle Commute
We’re now in midway through the second month of the new year and if you’ve procrastinated for the last ten weeks then why not tackle your New Year’s resolution head on at the start of next week – if you put off cycling to work, now’s the time to get on your bike. You can only put it off for so long and trust us when we say that you shouldn’t worry – riding to work is fun, practical, economical and good for you. With a bit of forward planning, you can ride to work on Monday without any problems whatsoever. Below, we’ve given you a little list of things that you might need to consider before you get underway to make sure that your first commute to work by bicycle goes without a hitch!
Gauge The Distance
According to goskyride.com 75% of the UKs population has a journey to work that takes less than thirty minutes and the average commute is only four miles – on top of that, the average cycle commute takes only twenty minutes. With that in mind, it should be a lot less daunting, right? Of course, that’s the case for most people but not all. Anything up to five miles each way is perfectly possible, even for the unfit – anything more and you might want to break up your journey with stints on public transport.
Use this weekend to get your bike back into shape. There’s nothing worse than making plans and wheeling your bike out only to discover a broken chain, flat tyre or non-existent brakes. We have a few guides on our blog that might be worth checking out (check here and here) but if you don’t feel up to the task, wheel your bike around to your nearest bike shop for a full service. A good service is usually quick, cheap and well worth the investment. You can also ride it back to get back into the swing of riding.
Scope It Out At Work
Check with your workplace about what facilities they have for cyclists. You need to ask whether they have shower and changing facilities if you’re planning on freshening up before putting the hours in or if they have designated bike parks. Most workspaces offer lockers and things like that for your riding gear but it’s well worth checking out what other services they can offer you. Ask your cycling colleagues for advice – they may well have some insider information that you can benefit from!
Plan Your Route
If you’re used to driving to work, you’ll probably find that what’s quick and painless for a car probably won’t be ideal for a bike. Use the weekend to explore some cycle friendly routes with designated cycle paths or roads without steep hills. The benefit of a bicycle is that you’re free to explore the smaller and narrower roads with slower speed limits; these are benefits well worth taking! Use the weekend for a reconnaissance ride – you’ll also be able to time yourself and see how much your first ride takes out of you too!
Dress And Prep
If you’re riding a short distance, you might be able to get away with wearing your work gear but the chances are that you’ll probably need to wear cycling gear and change upon arrival. Tight fitting clothes that don’t chafe are the ideal attire, so make sure you dress appropriately or you’ll be very uncomfortable!
Whilst thinking about what to wear, you should also think about what to pack; you’ll need something to hydrate yourself with and you’d be foolish not to travel without a small toolkit and puncture repair kit. It’s also worth making a mental note of cycle repair shops and friend’s houses just in case you get stuck on the way to work!
Take Your Time
Generally, cycling should be fun and not a chore – if you want to get from A to B in a fun way, you can take your time and make it as easy or as difficult as you like. For your first ride, you should leave extra early and take your time. You should aim for an easy and enjoyable journey at first – you can try and shave time later on. For the moment though, leave plenty of time and really take it easy.
Getting to work happy and early is preferable to running late whilst covered in sweat!
Now go and dig your bike out and spend your weekend preparing for your first ride to work. Follow the advice above and have a ball!