As part of Bike Week I had the chance to commute on a Brompton Ultralight - it's the rear section and forks being made of Titanium that make this bike so light. To hopefully get you get you motivated and inspired to ride to work this week and beyond, here's my top five reasons why you should ride to work!
1. Your health
I started cycling to work for health reasons. I have a disease called Crohn's which is an incurable disease with an unknown cause which affects your digestive system, prior to which I had had many years of good health, enjoying life, and had sort of took my health for granted. That all stopped and I got very sick, and for 18 months I was quite unwell until I had surgery. After surgery I gained my weight back and realized I'd taken my health for granted but I was so busy I didn't have time to fit the gym in - I'd just started a new job and a new career - so I figured I'd have to cycle to work, so then I could exercise on my commute.
But there are many other health benefits of cycling to work - for me, it keeps Crohn's in remission (and I didn't know that when I started!). A number of studies are available showing the benefits of cycling if you need some encouragement:
- General helth benefits of commuting by bike
- Cyclists feel significantly less stressed than other types of commuters
2. Saves you money
Cycling saves you money. Well, it might - I don't think it saves me money anymore! But it will certainly save you money on your commute. You won't be spending money on petrol if you drive, and you won't be spending on train fares, tube fares, bus fares - however you currently get to work - so it'll save you money that way. For me it's now turned to obsession and all my spare money goes to cycling and cycling holidays and bikes, so it is a slippery slope I will warn you. But generally it saves you money, and if you do it for exercise it can save you money on the gym as well as you can just cancel that gym membership that you feel guilty for not using, and your bike and your commute becomes your exercise.
3. Saves you time
My bike commute is faster than taking public transport (and that's when public transport goes well which it doesn't a lot of the time here in London), so I get to work faster and I'm also more reliable - I know how long I need to get to work and don't have to worry about getting stuck in traffic or unexpected delays. So, it's a more reliable form of transport in that respect - I've had one flat in all my years of commuting and that was the only time I was late because of my bike. Plus, you save time from not going to the gym as well, because your commute is your exercise meaning you don't have to go to the gym.
4. Helps the environment
Right now, our cities - especially here in London - are having a real nightmare with pollution, with very little being done by government to tackle it. It has been shown on days like the London marathon and RideLondon that when car use is reduced, there is a major increase in air quality as a result. Bike's don't cause pollution - cars do! So by reducing our reliance on cars and using other forms of transport we can help improve our environment and make cities a nicer place to be.
5. It's FUN!
I've left the best reason to last - its FUN! Get out on your bike, it makes you feel like a kid again and if you get great weather, take the long way home and make the most of it.
So there you have it, 5 reasons to ride to work - I hope its inspired you to get out and give riding to work a go, and I hope you love it! It's a lot of fun and worth the initial effort to find the routes that suit you best.
Watch Michelle's full video...
After recovering from Crohn's surgery in 2014 I knew I'd been taking my health for granted and needed to find a way to fit exercise into my busy life. I decided to start cycling the 8 mile commute to work in London, in November.
Starting off I was a nervous rider but as the winter went on I gained confidence, and when spring arrived I discovered the joy of riding in the warm sun and decided to sign up for a London to Oxford ride. It was while training for this ride that I found my love of long-distance cycling and bought a second bike, a road bike. A Canadian, shortly after the purchase of my second bike, seven months into cycling as an adult, I innocently googled �How long does it take to cycle across Canada� and discovered the world of bike touring. After a decade in London, I was captivated by the idea of spending the summer on a bike exploring my home country and started planning. A year later with my partner and a new touring bike, I started off on my first bike tour, cycling from Vancouver to Halifax a 4100 mile journey lasting 74 days.
Since my ride across Canada, I have discovered a love of climbing on my bike and have cycled some of the cols of the Tour de France in the Pyrenees as well as going on various bike tours here in the UK. For 2018 I'm challenging myself by participating in the Vatternrundan ride, a 300km ride around a lake in Sweden with 27,000 other cyclists.
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