Benefits of riding to work: Member tips & testimonials

Benefits of riding to work: Member tips & testimonials

Home » Insight Zone » Bike & kit

Hopping on your bike to get to work might be so embedded into your routine that it feels part of the working day, or perhaps it’s something reserved for the summer months and a milestone you look forward to as the seasons change.

Whatever the duration, mileage and surface, commutes are something to be celebrated – and you should be immensely proud of any journey you’re able to substitute for a spin.

Together with a group of passionate British Cycling members we’ve highlighted some of the wonders of riding to and from work, plus raised some useful pointers around kit and set-up.

Get some training in

It’s certainly not the main reason to ride, but we know that many people really value their commute to increase their fitness. Whether it’s a case of trying to beat your ride time, getting a segment or extending with a more scenic route to up your mileage, there are lots of ways to mix things up. Plus signalling, having to look around and controlling speed are all super helpful to improve bike handling.

“When I commuted to work I was racing regularly and it became the best training I ever did! My best year was after doing an 11-mile (each way) hilly commute, whilst still training and racing in the evenings and at weekends.”

“It’s great to try and beat my time every day and although I am on an e-bike these days I usually travel as much as possible above the speed where the assist kicks in on the way in, but using the battery more on the way home to get me up the few hills when I am shattered (fibromyalgia is my constant companion).”

Video: Use your commute to get fit

Save on time and travel

Despite the associated faff with showering, kit and components, for many it’s quicker to ride to and from work – plus much cheaper. And of course there is the option to combine riding and rail travel or other public transport services, particularly through use of a folding bike.

“I ride from home to the local station (2.7 miles) then take the train. My ride at the other end is 1.7 miles, so each ride takes just 10 minutes and keeps me from having to take the tube. The best part is that I can get home quicker too, as I don't need to walk to the tube station.  In the summer I will ride all the way to work once or twice a week (19.5 miles).”

“I started cycle commuting due to issues with public transport, covering 40km each way. It was daunting at first, but I got more into it and as I got used to the traffic, learned the best routes and times, and it became more of a habit. I found myself covering upwards of 200km a week and it became an efficient way to squeeze exercise in without sacrificing too much time. By train it’s a little over an hour, but by bike it's about an hour and a half with a bit of faff each end. While I appreciate that the distance is not for everyone, I strongly feel that the barrier for many is simply doing it the first time.”

Video: How to plan your commute route

A rider mid-commute in a city-centre setting

Consider your components

When it comes to cost, give some thought to future-proofing your commute by looking after your bike – and your enjoyment. This can be as simple as fitting mudguards to limit the soaking on wet roads and rinsing down your bike in the winter months to avoid corrosion by salt. But members had invaluable experience on building your bike up as a hard-working commuter.

“For 16 years I had a mostly off-road commute on gravel tracks and bridleways. Bike-wise, I gradually learnt what components worked best and unwittingly ended up with something that looks like a single speed gravel bike. Main priorities were comfort, reliability and ease of maintenance.”

“The main driver for commuting began with saving money and reducing wear and tear on my car, so I started using my road bike to commute. It’s a relatively flat cycle so I found myself rarely using all gears, but increasing the wear on my cassette. I then got myself a single speed to reduce maintenance – and have been loving it! Riding a single speed is good fun and a great workout, introducing cadence drills and leg workouts without having to think about it!”

Video: Check your bike between rides

Create a commute

Hybrid working removes the need to travel to an office, but this can also make it harder to leave the house and keep your activity levels up. Turning what would have been a commute into a bike ride gives you the chance to get out and feel a sense of achievement at the beginning of your day or to end it – plus it offers a lot more flexibility on route choice.

“It’s definitely harder to get motivated to ride when you don’t need to be in a set place at a set time, but being disciplined with myself and getting out at least once a week in the morning before work has been so refreshing. Plus the trails are really quiet.”

Two riders riding to work on a rural road with bike lanes

Take in the views and enjoy the experience

Whether your commute is urban, rural, or a mix of the two, there will always be surprise moments that take your breath away – in a good way! This could be a ride home during golden hour when everything is glowing and the promise of spring is ahead, or a chance ‘hello’ at a set of traffic lights introducing you to a likeminded and inspiring soul. Every ride has so much potential.

“The first half of my commute is all on quiet rural roads that don’t see much traffic. As a result you can usually rely on an animal encounter and these have ranged from riding right past a buzzard perched on a fence post to seeing herds of deer in the mist - and even rescuing a mole from the middle of the road! Together with seeing the changing of the seasons, it feels like a real privilege.”

Clear your head

Happiness and headspace were the two biggest drivers for commuting, as reported by members. The focus of the ride itself coupled with the satisfaction of travelling at your own speed (and not being sat in traffic) are some powerful positive feedback loops.

“Commuting to work on my bike meant I was much more positive once I arrived, it clears your head and makes you feel better. It also made me more resilient to cycling in bad weather - I bought wet weather gear and found I could enjoy the rain once I was kitted out well.”

“I’ve always found my cycle commute a great way of switching off from work. The need to concentrate on the road and a bit of light (or occasionally hard) exercise was great for a bit of mental balance.”

“The ride to work energised me for my day's rather sedentary office job and the ride home helped me to leave the stresses of the office behind. I got a lot fitter, lost weight, saved a fortune in commuting costs and really started to enjoy cycling again. Riding in all weathers was a challenge, but good kit helped. For me, the best bit was rediscovering the joy of riding every day.”


About this section