Are you taking the plunge and thinking about cycling to work? Whether you're trying to cut fuel costs, reduce the time stuck in traffic, or just get out of paying a parking charge, cycling is a great way to get to and from work or school. It can be difficult to build up the routine, but once you've begun, riding to work brings many positive and inspiring benefits, including better health and increased energy levels.
Here are some tips on how you can start commuting:
- Get used to riding on roads by cycling when you're not under any time restraints, such as cycling to the shops or cycling on the weekend.
- Do a trial run to work during the weekend to see how long it takes you to ride the distance.
- If any of your colleagues ride to work, talk to them to get useful tips.
- Write up a list of the equipment and things you'll need for a regular commute.
- Don't rush the process - if you can only ride into work once a week, you're already making a great start!
- Find the off-road, cycle paths and country lanes along your route to add to the joys of riding to work.
- Team up with a colleague and ride into work together.
- Do as many things in the evening that will save you time in the morning, such as preparing breakfast, getting your bike ready, or laying out your clothing.
- Give yourself plenty of time so that you arrive at work in time to shower or wash and change.
- Don't overdo it! Start by riding in once or twice a week until you feel like you want to do more.
- Make sure your bike is the right type of bike for commuting. Avoid using full suspension or heavy-duty mountain bikes that are built for off-road use.
- Ensure your bike is safe and road-worthy.
- Make sure you have the right frame size for you. Measure your inside pant leg and check out our Bike Size Guide to find the right bike for you.
- Have your bike regularly serviced to keep it road worthy and safe.
What To Wear
- Dress for the season, but don't underdress - you can always loosen or remove your top layer if you become too hot.
- Reflective or brightly coloured clothing will make you more visible to other road users.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Carry or wear a lightweight waterproof jacket - it'll save you during those brief showers!
- Invest in a good pair of gloves, shoe covers and a skull cap for the winter.
Be Safe On The Road
- Always follow the Highway Code.
- Don't assume you've been seen by other road users. Always try to make eye contact with drivers emerging from junctions and other hotspots.
- Watch out for pedestrians, especially if they're crossing the road, and if in doubt, shout a warning to them.
- Avoid the busiest roads where possible by using off-road routes like cycle paths, canal paths and bridle ways.
- Get quality lighting for your bike, with at least one on a flashing mode to catch the attention of other road users.
- Always wear a helmet!
- Wear reflective or brightly coloured clothing to be even more visible to road users.
- Carry your name, address, and a contact person, just in case you're unfortunately enough to be involved in an accident.
- Carry your mobile phone, but don't use it while riding!
- Make certain you can hear the traffic around you - don't use MP3 players and earphones.
- Slow down and be more careful during bad weather, especially if it's raining or there's poor visibility.
- Look out for pot holes, grates and other road problems, especially after a heavy rain. When you see a puddle, don't assume it's shallow!
- Wear gloves or fingerless mitts to protect your hands in case of a fall.
- Personal accident and bike insurance will protect you and other road users in the event of an accident. Check with your insurer or online for the best deal.
- Remember that skin and bone is no match for concrete and steel! Never take unnecessary risks!
- Never slip a bag onto the handlebar - it can shift quickly and cause you to make sudden turns.
- Carry as little as possible - leaving as much as you can at home or at work.
- Avoid using rucksacks if you find them uncomfortable, and look into pannier bags or rack bags
- Make sure your luggage is tightly secured on your bike.
- Prevent repairs by making sure your bike is serviced regularly and stays road worthy.
- Use products that help prevent punctures, such as tyres, inner tubes and other products.
- Carry a roadside repair kit and a spare inner tube, just in case.
- If you do need to fix your bike, carry it out in a safe place well away from the traffic.
- Make sure you have your phone and have someone you can call to come pick you up if you cannot fix your bike at the road side.
- Don't be too ambitious when starting - if you're not very fit or live too far away from work, look into alternate possibilities, such as taking public transportation part of the way
- Use off-road routes where possible, even if it seems the journey is further.
- Avoid the busiest roads and junctions if you can.
- Talk to colleagues who also ride to work and learn from their experiences.
What I Need At Work
- Wash kit including flannel if you have no showers at work.
- Wash kit, including a flannel if you don't have showers at work.
- Hair brush or comb to get rid of that helmet hair.
- Clean towel.
- Work clothes and shoes.
- Food for refuelling - soup, energy bars, and fruit are great choices.
- A good secure bike lock.
What Your Employer Could Provide
- Bike lockers or a dry and secure area for employees to park their bikes
- Changing rooms with showers, or a hot water supply for washing.
- A warm and dry area for clothing to dry.
- Staff lockers for helmets and other bike gear to be safely stored.