Cycling to work can bring with it many benefits, not just to your health. In aid of National Ride2Work Day, here are 10 reasons why riding your bike can help you move up the corporate ladder.
Commuter cycling is growing in popularity among people who are fast discovering it's an efficient, effective and environmentally friendly alternative to driving or catching the train. While the added health benefits of a 30-minute-plus cycle each day may be obvious, many people are unaware of the other rewards of riding to work.
Cycling your daily commute to work to stay healthy
Instead of sitting about while you travel to work, you get a great aerobic workout. You'll arrive at work energised and ready for action. Riding develops excellent cardiovascular fitness as well as building muscle strength and endurance. A 15-minute ride to and from work will add half an hour of aerobic conditioning to your day. Pedalling at a high cadence uses predominantly slow-twitch fibres known for their endurance capacity. Slow-twitch fibres are good at using fat for a fuel source. Cycling may be a great way for you to burn off any unwanted kilos.
Being a weight-supported exercise, it is low impact and therefore good for anyone with joint problems. It's also beneficial for those who may be carrying a little extra weight. Injury rates associated with cycling are very low.
Cycling to work saves time
In city areas, it can take less time to ride to work than it does to commute via car or public transport. Take Central London for example. An average 6.5km travel takes 90 minutes on foot, 40 minutes in a car, 430 minutes on the tube and 22 minutes on a bike. This pattern is echoed across many major cities around the globe.
There is also a tendency to take shorter showers and get ready quicker at work. Carrying work clothes is easier than you might think. There are many non-crush fabrics now available. Preparing your clothes the night before further speeds up your morning routine.
Riding a bike helps save the environment
While car exhausts are pumping out dangerous greenhouse gases, pedal power creates no nasty emissions. It's a renewable energy source! Research into the relative energy efficiency of transport modes has shown that a 5km trip in a loaded bus uses 24 times more energy (per person) than riding a bike the same distance. A single-occupant car will use approximately 84 times more energy.
Fewer cars on the road mean less wear and tear on the roads themselves. With less congestion, cars can travel at a more constant speed which uses much less energy than the stop-start nature of traffic jams.
Savour the great outdoors on your bike
Instead of arriving harassed off a packed commuter train, or from time spent sitting on a congested road, you'll get to enjoy the outdoors and see the changing seasons. You can immerse yourself in the fresh air and sunshine. Being in the elements may be considered a drawback in winter. However, with the right gear, you'll be safe and dry. You'll also have the added benefit of not being stuck in traffic and getting home earlier.
Cycling to work means parking is a breeze
No fighting for car parks or forking out huge sums for a weekly car space. Many people just pedal up to work and lock their bike in a secure area. You'll find many car parks now have areas for bikes. Furthermore, more employers are considering and planning bike parking and end of trip facilities in the workplace.
You'll get the satisfaction of sailing past stationary cars on jammed roads
Cycling is often more time-efficient, especially during peak times. Travelling under your own steam means you are able to avoid traffic jams. Cycling helps ease traffic congestion by reducing the number of cars on the road. The cars that are on their might get a faster trip home as a result. Reduced congestion improves the efficiency of the transport system.
What if there are no bike paths near me?
If you don't have an off-road route or marked bike path, the best option is to get on Google Maps. Choose the most direct route. You can look at side streets or quieter roads nearby and design a route using less busy roads. Trial the route on a weekend to get your bearings, check the time required and make sure it's appropriate.
Meeting fellow commuters
Cycling is a very social activity since you are out in the community after all. You can make lots of new friends at the lights, or the bike racks. You might get to know your neighbours better as you say hello when you ride past. Cyclists tend to be more social and stop to give a hand if you are pulled over making some adjustments to your bike.
Cycling to work helps you save money
Riding saves petrol money, car expenses and wear and tear on your vehicle. Not to mention the cost of train tickets or bus fares. You can make a substantial saving throughout the year if you no longer have to pay the cost of that weekly commuter ticket. Even if you had to buy a new bike, a standard hybrid bike could pay for itself in a few months.
The convenience of freedom
While public transport has a set route, you can alter your course when you're on your bike. Maybe you need to pick up milk? Perhaps you need to drop off an item at the post office or see friends. You can also take short trips across town for meetings or to run errands. Perhaps at lunchtime, or at a time that best suits you. You are not constrained to the road or transport timetables. Access bike tracks and shared pedestrian pathways to shorten your commute.
Psychological benefits of cycling to work
Travelling alone gives you time by yourself to think and plan. There's no radio or music player to distract you - only your thoughts. You can mull over any issues you've been pondering. The bike saddle is often a great place to dream up new ventures or initiatives. Research suggests that employees who cycle have less sick days and have a more positive outlook on life.