Tempted to join the growing number of two-wheeled commuters? Cycle to Work Day on September 14 might be the perfect time to hop on the saddle
Already a seasoned cycle commuter, or tempted to give cycling to work a go? September 14’s Cycle to Work Day aims to encourage thousands of people to do just that - ditch the car/train/bus for a two-wheeled commute.
Cycling to work won’t be practical for everybody, of course. But if it is a viable option - and the only thing really holding you back is confidence or mustering up the motivation - then September 14 could be the ideal time to give it a go.
In partnership with a range of organisations, including British Cycling, Cyclescheme and Sustrans, Cycle to Work Day is ultimately a celebration of ‘everyday cycling’ - something Team GB stars Laura Trott and Jason Kenny, along with a host of other Olympic talents, recently wrote to Theresa May about, calling for greater investment in encouraging ‘everyday cycling’.
The ‘best way’, they said, ‘to honour the achievements of our athletes would be a legacy of everyday cycling in this country - a place where cycling is the choice form of transport for people to get around in their daily lives’.
Currently, around 741,000 people in the UK cycle to work regularly, a figure that’s gradually been growing. Fancy joining them? Here are five reasons to ride your bike to work...
:: It will save you money
Aside from the cost of your bike, and the odd bit of maintenance here and there, cycling by bike is free. If you’re somebody who usually drives or gets the train to work, you could be ‘wheelie’ on your way to saving a fortune.
:: It keeps you active
You don’t have to be racing around a track for it to count as exercise; just as walking is beneficial for your health, so too is a gentle, leisurely-paced bike ride. In terms of ticking those physically active targets, for staying fit and warding off future diseases, the important thing is that you’re moving your body - regularly.
:: It’s better for the environment
Bikes don’t emit any nasty fumes. Very big tick. And they’re usually built to last and can be repaired. Another big green tick. Good news all round.
:: It’s invigorating
We can all benefit from getting those endorphins pumping, that natural high that comes from getting moving. While cycling can be relaxing, it also requires a degree of focus which, combined with the thrill of pedalling along, can add up to an invigorating start to the day.
:: It’s a confidence boost
Cycling, especially on roads, can be quite scary at first. But overcoming such obstacles can be incredibly rewarding and a huge confidence boost. Remember, there are organisations and people out there who want to help you find safe, comfortable cycle routes, and there are lots (including free) cycle confidence courses all over the UK. Google what’s available in your area, and check out sites like www.sustrans.org.uk and www.cyclinguk.org.
:: For more information about Cycle to Work Day, visit www.cycletoworkday.org
FIVE TOP KIT PICKS FOR CYCLE COMMUTERS
:: Altura Women’s NightVision EVO 360 Waterproof Jacket, £99.99, Zyro (www.zyro.co.uk)
Available in a choice of bright colours and sizes 8-18, this loose fit jacket is light enough for milder days, and waterproof and roomy enough to sit nicely over a thicker top during wet winter weeks.
:: Altura NightVision Commuter Waist Tights, £59.99, Zyro (www.zyro.co.uk)
With temperature-regulating Thermosuede fabric, these full-length tights will not only keep you warm and comfy on those late rides home - NightVision panels will ensure you stay visible to other road-users too. Available in men’s and women’s fits.
:: Vulpine Women’s Urban Cycling Jeans, £120 (www.vulpine.cc)
Don’t want to join the Lycra brigade, or don’t have time for a costume change post-commute? Vulpine’s recently-launched Urban range includes these fab indigo denim jeans, which feature a diamond-shaped gusset design (for minimal seam-friction and saddle discomfort!) and reflective printing on the turn-up.
:: Meame Alpha Reflective Tweed Blazer, £295 (www.meame.co.uk)
Another great source for dapper cyclists is Meame. This Alpha jacket, made with quality British herringbone tweed, looks stylish on and off the bike, with discreet underarm ventilation, shoulder pleating for ease of movement, a Teflon finish for drizzly days, plus reflective thread for added visibility in the dark.
:: Meame Naos Gloves, £60 (www.meame.co.uk)
They also have gloves - a cycle commute essential - available in tan or black leather and from sizes S to XL. Check out the Nashira version for women, too. These would make a great gift for the urban bicycle lover.
TRIED AND TESTED
3 of the best... backpacks for cycle commuters
:: Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Commuter Backpack, £125 (www.thule.com)
Not cheap, but this - pleasingly stylish and well-made - backpack’s worth every penny and will take care of all your cycle-commuter needs. It’s roomy and cleverly designed to tuck in all your work kit, with a removable padded sleeve for laptops or tablets, lots of handy pockets to keep essentials (phones, keys, glasses...) safe and easy to find, comes with a hi-vis rain cover and helmet storage system, and features an ultra-comfy padded back.
:: Proviz REFLECT360 Rucksack, £69.99 (www.provizsports.com)
Alongside their range of ultra-reflective jackets - you really will be hard pushed to find anything more hi-vis - Proviz makes backpacks too. This 30L bag’s designed to sit snug and comfy close to the body, has mesh side pockets and a small zipped front packet alongside the main compartment, plus there’s a light loop and it promises to be highly water resistant.
:: Yellowstone Compact Backpack, £9.99 (Halfords.com)
If you’re after something not too big and bulky that won’t break the bank, you can’t go wrong with this fuss-free 25L backpack. Despite the bargain price tag, it’s durable, features comfy, padded straps and has an internal compartment for laptops.