10 Tips For Cycle Commuting
Are you sick of late trains stopping you from getting to work on time? Don’t fancy having a stranger cramped up in your personal space on the tube? Is traffic stopping you from getting a coffee before your 9 am meeting?
There’s a solution to that; cycling to work!
Cycling to work has many benefits for your health, the environment and even your bank balance. At Swinnerton Cycles, we are huge advocates for the cycle commute, and we are here to give you some of the tips and tricks of cycling and fill you in on some of the benefits that you won’t expect from cycling to work.
1. Plan the route
You may think that you know the route to the office from your home like the back of your hand, but using a cycle planner can direct you towards a safe route. Using a route planner, such as CycleStreets, will find tracks and paths designed for cyclists that you may not have known about. It is also a great way to explore your local surroundings if you are new to a city or town.
Planning the route through a route planner will also allow you to avoid busier roads or roundabouts that you may not feel comfortable cycling along.
2. Test the route in your spare time
Once you have found a route that you think is suitable for your commute, it is time to head out with your helmet and take yourself for a trial run.
By completing a practice run on a day that you are not working, you will be able to get a feel for the duration of the ride. From here, you can work your timings backwards to assess how much longer or shorter your commute will be. When taking into account this time, make sure you add 5-10 minutes to account for locking and storing up your bike once you arrive at work.
You will also be able to consider the route’s difficulty and how sweaty you could be once you have completed the route. The last thing you want is to turn up and have to wear your professional clothes dripping in sweat. It’s also not what your colleagues want either.
3. Take a shower at work or a spare set of clothes
Following on from the previous tip about sweating on the ride, it is wise to take a spare set of clothes and a towel with you if your commute is longer.
For shorter journeys, you can ride slower and not have to worry about sweat patches or perspiration marks. Make sure you take into account the slower journey time if you don’t want to change and accommodate your departure time to fit in the extra added minutes.
Some offices and workplaces have a shower that employees can use, which is ideal for those who have a longer commute and will work up a sweat. We recommend jumping straight into your gym clothes or cycling clothing when you wake up and packing your work clothes in a bag that you can change into after your pre-work shower.
4. Cycle with a friend or colleague
If you feel slightly anxious about heading to or from work on your commute alone – take a friend!
It can be a great way to get to know a new work colleague if you live in similar parts of town to commute together. Meet in a communal place that works for you both and head off to work with another person.
Having someone by your side will ease your anxieties if you are worried about timings, traffic, or not fully confident with your riding abilities.
Keep a lookout for fellow cycling commuters in the office and ask them if you can buddy up with them for one week to give cycling to work a trial run.
5. Don’t book any morning meetings
The last thing that you want is to turn up to a meeting late and sweaty because your commute has taken slightly longer than it usually would. To ensure this doesn’t happen, make sure that the first hour of your day is clear and booked out so that you don’t have any meetings.
It is also wise to let your manager know that you are cycling into the office and ask for their permission for some flexibility on the days you decide to cycle.
6. Cycle insurance
It is wise to get cycle insurance for your bike when commuting to work. This will give you peace of mind that if any of your cycling equipment, possessions or even the bike itself is stolen that you will be able to get something back.
7. Bike lights
Visibility on the road is important for cyclists, and it is a legal requirement to have lights on your bike during certain times of the day, depending on the month of the year.
For the darker winter mornings and evenings, consider purchasing a bike light. At Swinnerton Cycles, we have a range of bike lights for various areas of your bike, including front lights for road visibility, light pairs and also rear lights.
Having a bike light gives you the opportunity to cycle to work all year round and will undoubtedly help save you transport costs.
8. Get to know your bike
Understanding the components of your bike is important if you are going to be spending a lot of time cycling.
It is useful to get to grips with the functionalities and aspects of your bike and how they work. We’re not saying that you need to be able to understand everything about the bike, but getting the basics is a good starting point.
This means that if a problem (such as a flat tyre) occurs, you know how to fix it easily and can continue to activate those quads on your daily commute.
9. Find a way to carry your work belongings
Carrying your work belongings, including your expensive laptop and, more importantly, your lunch, may seem like a task when commuting to work on a bike, but it doesn’t have to be.
Depending on the type of bike that you have, there are racks available for you to place your belongings to keep them secure. You will find a range of racks available at Swinnerton Cycles, including front tray baskets for smaller items, to larger rear racks.
10. Have fun!
Cycling to work is supposed to be fun. Make sure that you enjoy the ride. Cycling home from work has so many benefits, such as blowing off that extra bit of steam on challenging days to leisurely enjoy the sunset in the evenings.
Bikes, components and accessories
If you would like to explore the range of bikes that we have available at Swinnerton Cycles, we have a selection of road bikes and e-Bikes that would make for the perfect commute companion. Also, make sure to check out our range of accessories and clothing for those important safety helmets and cycling clothes.