It’s hard to overstate the benefits of cycling to work. It improves your fitness levels, saves you money on transport, lifts your mood and, on top of all that, it’s better for the environment. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why so many commuters are donning their bike shorts every morning.
If you’ve never cycled to work before, the idea can feel a bit daunting. To help you get started, we’ve pulled together this handy guide of cycling to work tips.
Wear a helmet
Protect all those brilliant ideas you have buzzing around your head! It might seem like an obvious reminder, but helmetless cyclists flock to the roads every single day. And, while they might feel a bit cumbersome, a helmet is absolutely crucial for anyone who decides to cycle to work. If you’re worried about helmet hair, simply keep a comb or brush in your desk drawer.
If you’re a beginner cyclist, or you have a long, difficult commute, try and avoid the temptation to jump right in and start cycling to and from work every day. Build up your confidence slowly by cycling for part of the route and then getting the bus, or by only cycling half the days. If you’re a complete beginner, develop your fitness and cycling skills first by going on weekend and evening bike rides.
If you’re a confident cyclist with a relatively easy commute, you should be fine cycling to work – although it’s still a good idea to do a test run before Monday morning rolls around.
Invest in the right gear
While you don’t necessarily have to buy a whole new wardrobe and deck yourself out head-to-toe in lycra, there are some things you’ll need to stay safe and comfortable as you cycle to work. Aside from some good-quality trainers, you’ll probably be comfier in some bike shorts or leggings, especially if your commute is longer than 15 minutes.
It’s likely part of your commute will be in the dark, so make sure you have some bright, reflective clothing. It’s also a good idea to invest in some waterproof clothing, such as a coat and a rucksack. Even if you’re not planning to cycle in the rain, it’s good to be prepared for those sudden downpours.
If your commute is fairly short, you might be able to get away with biking to work in your regular outfit – but you’ll still need to throw on a reflective jacket or rucksack to keep you visible in low light.
Stock your desk with snacks
One of the best things about cycling to work is that it burns loads of calories, which saves you from having to pay for a gym membership. However, it also means you’ll need to keep your desk stocked with high-energy snacks, such as nuts, porridge and protein bars. Make sure you eat something nutritious in the late afternoon to give you plenty of energy for your ride home.
Keep the necessities within reach
When packing your bag before your ride, think about the things you might need on the journey. Keep essentials like water, energy bars and your wallet in immediate reach, and make sure your cable lock, tools and spare equipment (such as lights, reflectors and batteries) are all easy to access too.
Investing in a waterproof cycling bag is a good way to get organised for your commute. Although any standard waterproof rucksack is fine, cycling rucksacks and saddle bags are designed with accessibility and storage in mind, making it easier to access the essentials on the go.
Allow time to clean up
Cycling is a great workout, but that does mean you might look a tad sweaty by the time you get to the office. Leave yourself a good 15 minutes extra time to change your clothes, have some water and cool down before you start your day. If greasy hair is a concern, keep some dry shampoo in your desk – no one will ever know you just cycled up a huge hill.
Don’t force yourself in bad weather
Cycling to work is great for your health and well-being, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it every day. In fact, sometimes it’s safer not to, especially during snowstorms or extreme winds. If you don’t fancy cycling through a downpour, don’t. Having the odd day off and sticking to more moderate weather is a great way to make sure you don’t fall out of love with cycling.
However, if you do decide to brave the rainy days, make sure you invest in a good-quality waterproof jacket and bag at a minimum. That way, you won’t have to spend your entire workday soaked through!
Choose a scenic route
If you can, try and find a route to work that’s a little more scenic than main roads and traffic. Even if it takes a little bit longer, it will feel worth it as you’re cycling through trees instead of cars. Aside from making your commute more enjoyable, having a scenic ride to work is also a huge mood lifter. Nothing beats the Monday-morning blues better than a beautiful, sunny cycle to the office – even if it’s just a five-minute detour through your local park, or down a particularly nice side street.
Give yourself plenty of time
Whether you’re on your bike or in the car, commuting is always more stressful when you’re rushing. Leave plenty of time for your journey to go at your own pace, take in the scenery, and maybe even grab a coffee. Not only will this make cycling to work more enjoyable, but also a lot safer – you won’t be distracted by checking your watch and racing round corners.
Your perfect city bike
Looking to cycle to work? Designed to help you speed through the city, the new Propaganda single speed bike could be your answer to urban cycling. With a blend of classic vibes and modern styling, it looks as good as it feels. Simply hop on, start pedalling, and navigate the city streets with total ease.