The cost of running a car and the limitations of taking public transport are encouraging more and more people to take to two wheels on their daily commute. Sustrans has some useful advice to help you start cycling to work.
- Arrive on time: when you travel by bike, you know exactly how long your journey will take you and there are no traffic jams or timetable delays to hold you up.
- Exercise while you travel: incorporating exercise into your daily routine helps to achieve the recommended 2.5 hours of physical activity per week. You will arrive refreshed and ready for the day.
- It’s fun! Enjoy being outdoors on your daily commute and getting some fresh air. You may even discover places you wouldn’t see when travelling by car or public transport.
- It saves you money: cycling to work is cheaper than driving or taking public transport.
What you need
You don’t need to buy lots of expensive kit to start cycling to work. For short commutes, you may be comfortable cycling in your work clothes. Take your commute at your own pace and you don’t need to arrive all hot and sweaty.
However, you may find that some basic essentials will improve your commuting experience.
- This is an obvious one – a bike! If you already have one, keep it well maintained, as you’re more likely to enjoy your journey. If you don’t have one, check out our Cycle to Work scheme which allows you to save up to 42%.
- Mudguards: unpredictable British weather makes mudguards your friend.
- Lock: if your place of work doesn’t have somewhere secure to keep your bike, then you will need a good lock to keep it safe during the working day.
- Lights: a legal requirement if cycling after dark. Here's how to find the right ones for you.
- Panniers: if you have lots of things to carry, panniers are a great way to do this. If they’re waterproof, then all the better.
- Waterproofs: a lightweight set of a waterproof jacket and over trousers will get you through most of the rainy days.
- Helmet: not a legal requirement in the UK but modern styles are lightweight, comfortable and breathable so there's no good reason not to wear one.
Plan your route: the quickest way may not always be the most pleasant! If you’re prepared to travel a little further, explore alternatives to the main road to enjoy a safer, more scenic or less hilly route. Use Sustrans online mapping to discover routes near you.
Freshen up: if your place of work has a shower, you could keep a shower kit and towel at work if you feel you need one. Alternatively, cleansing wipes, a small towel and some deodorant can help you feel fresher before starting the working day.
If you feel your commute is too long to cycle, then you could combine a cycle ride with a train, bus or car journey at either end. Whilst bicycles are rarely allowed on buses, some train companies accept full-sized bikes, and folding bikes are allowed on most trains. It’s always best to check with your local operator in advance.
What if my employer isn't exactly 'cycle friendly?'
If your workplace doesn’t have many facilities for cyclists, you could find out from colleagues if they are also interested in cycling in.
Perhaps get a group together to ask for cycle racks, lockers or showers. There are benefits to your employer as employees who cycle to work are fitter, healthier and happier as a result are less likely to take sick days.
What is the Cycle to Work scheme?
- You can buy a bike and selected accessories through Cycle to Work at a discount of a minimum of 25% including end of scheme agreement costs. More typically can be as high as 42%
- It allows you to get a great bike and spread the costs.
- Your company needs to be signed up to a provider.
- At the end of the hire period, you can choose to return the bike or extend the period.
- The only condition is that the bike must be used for cycling work
Enjoy your journey!
Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. We have lots more tips and advice on how to get cycling on our website.