Would you like a free holiday? OK, it means a bit of hard work, but you will get fitter, lose weight, eat those naughty but nice treats without a tinge of regret and feel great. What I am talking about.. commuting to work by bike. The advantages are not just for you. It’s good for your town, good for your employer and good for the environment. And with the money you save in petrol, tyres, car parking and servicing, a nice holiday awaits you.
Most people have a bike, it might be hidden at the back of the garage, having never seen the light of day for years, but with a little bit of tlc, you will have your stead ready and waiting. If your bike hasn’t been used for a while then a new set of tyres and inner tubes may be needed together with a new chain. Your local bike shop will be able to service it if you don’t fancy doing yourself. You could of course splash out on a new one. The government have cycle to work schemes available to buy bikes and accessories which mean you do not pay any tax, with saving of about 40%. A couple of other items which are absolutely necessary are lights and a cycle helmet, reflected clothing is also a good idea.
Some of the excuses for not commuting are “it’s too far” “I am not fit enough” “it’s too dangerous” “It’s always rains”, lets face it the list could go on forever. The average commute is 8 miles and almost everyone with a little training and willpower can achieve that and very soon you will acclimatize and even find longer routes to work. Of course it does rain sometimes, but a waterproof jacket and trousers are all you need..People of a certain age will remember the “cycling proficiency” at school, well thing have moved into the 21 century with Bikeability, which is aimed at adults and young people to learn the skills to ride safely on roads to make trips by bike.
More and more employers have seen the benefits of encouraging their staff to commute by bike. They have fitter staff who are able to concentrate better and are less stressed. Cycling is a low impact exercise, meaning it’s easier on your joints than running or other high-impact aerobic activities. Riding a bike up for half an hour per day, 5 days a week can give you up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes and up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer ( http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/Whybeactive.aspx)
One of the things people hate about gyms and exercise is the time it takes. We all lead busy lives and time is precise. We don’t always have the time or money to go to the gym or swimming pool. That’s the great thing about commuting its “invisible exercise”. By tea time you have already done it. So its leave you more family time or soap watching without feeling guilty.
Cycling is now the third most popular recreation in the UK. More and more people are taking up cycling. British Cycling has never been as successful. The success of the British Cycling team at the Olympics and World Championships together with the likes of Mark Cavendish, Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy has given cycling “Street Cred”.