This week, I decided to ask followers on Twitter and Facebook why they choose to cycle to work.
QUESTION: If you cycle to work, why do you choose the bicycle over other modes of transport? #whycycle
— Discerning Cyclist (@discerningcyc) June 3, 2014
I expected the answers to be along the lines of “it’s cheaper”, “it’s a good form of exercise” and “it’s good for the environment” – and, yes, they were some of the answers. But there was also some feedback that provided another aspect to why people cycle – some of which really struck a chord.
Below, the Discerning Cyclist takes a look at the top 10 reasons why people cycle to work.
#1 – “Makes me feel healthier, happier and more relaxed.”
This answer really resonated with me.
I’d never really thought about why I seem to enjoy cycling more than other modes of transport before, but having thought about it, after a bike ride into work I feel relaxed – and that is a fantastic way to start the day.
I’ve driven into work by car and public transport on many occasions, and I always seemed to feel quite tense when getting out of the car and entering the building. Being stuck at that junction when you’re running five minutes late doesn’t half make you tense.
There’s something soothing about riding a bicycle, particularly when you get into a steady rhythm on a lovely smooth road or path.
@discerningcyc Quicker, get to see pretty fields, arrive relaxed, saves a fortune in fuel & it gives you awesome legs & a pert bum!
— Strawberries&Cream (@dizzymabil) June 3, 2014
@discerningcyc can’t always but it’s cheaper and makes me feel healthier, happier and more relaxed. Unless it’s raining
— Mog jones (@Cotesdujura) June 3, 2014
Axe Grim Skot: “Driving a car in rush hour traffic is miserable.”
#2 – “Reliability.”
Yes, it is possible to get a puncture. And occasionally my chain might come off. But there is so much less that can go wrong with a bike compared to a car, train, bus or motorbike.
It’s simplicity is it’s quality. With a bit of prior knowledge (and possibly the help of some YouTube tutorials) there’s not much you can’t fix on a bike pretty quickly with some very basic tools.
@discerningcyc Time/speed and reliability first, exercise second, cost third.
— Donkey Farrell (@FarrellRock) June 3, 2014
#3 – “Cost.”
And something that is a great appeal of cycling. Cars are expensive beasts and many journeys that people take in them are completely unnecessary.
Obviously, if you have a 4 hour commute to make, I wouldn’t recommend a bicycle. However, if you want to nip to the shop down the road, why not just cycle?
Average cost of buying a new bike: £242
Average cost of buying a new car: £14000
Average cost of running a bike per year: £100 (maintenance)
Average cost of running a car per year: £3500 (maintenance, petrol, car tax, MOT)
Total bike cost after one year: £342
Total car cost after one year: £17500
I would prefer to cycle every day, do extra exercise, and then have a few hundred quid extra at the end of the month to spend on something I really enjoy, instead of just sitting in a metal box.
@discerningcyc We have a car, we can’t afford to run 2! Not that I would want to, trapped in a metal box for 2 hours every day, not fun!
— Si Bradley (@_Si_Bradley) June 3, 2014
#4 – “I don’t like being coughed/sneezed on/at.”
Public transport has its merits, but it’s not for everyone – especially at rush hour. People squeezed into tight carriages, it’s hot, there’s no seat, and germs are being passed about at an alarming rate.
Now unless you’re giving someone a backie, the chances of being coughed/sneezed on/at while riding a bicycle are minimal. You also get to enjoy your personal space.
#5 – “Get to see pretty fields.”
One of the key merits of cycling is the ability to go (almost) anywhere. You don’t have to stick to the road. Why not cut across that park on the way to the work and take in some morning greenery? As well as giving yourself a break from inhaling carbon monoxide, it is also a great way to relax, reflect and think clearly.
#6 – “Productivity of time V alternative transport.”
Okay, sure, you’re not going to hit 100mph anytime soon, but in the rush hour traffic, who is?
While buses and cars are stuck in a big old queue, bikes can whizz past and zoom in and out of static traffic (with care!!).
Shortcuts through parks and lanes will also slash your travel time, making bicycles one of the most efficient modes of transport out there. Indeed, a study by Citreon in Cardiff found that cars average just 7mph at rush hour, while cyclists average between 12 and 15 mph.
No queues, no changing trains or buses. Just A to B.
@discerningcyc 1. Feel better when at work, 2. cost. 3 Reliability and productivity of time v alternative transport.
— Tim (@TimL14) June 3, 2014
#7 – “Cakes, curry, beer, Curly Wurlys. I like them all, and also enjoy fitting into my trousers. So, cycling.”
Simple rule here: If you burn off more calories than you eat, you will lose weight.
A common gripe of people who struggle to get enough exercise is the claim that they don’t find the time to workout. But if you’re making a 15/20 minute car journey several times a day, then why not cycle and get your daily exercise done while you travel?
The world has never been more inactive than it currently is, with obesity levels hitting epidemic levels.
Did you know that the number of people with a normal/healthy BMI decreased by a massive 9% between 1993 and 2012 in the UK, meaning that just 40.6 % of women and 32.1% of men have a healthy BMI.
Cycling also helps you sleep better. A Stanford University study asked insomniac sufferers to cycle for between 20-30 minutes per day. The result? The time required for sufferers to fall asleep halved, with the average person gaining an extra hours sleep per night.
Jim Probert: “I have a crazy work schedule. Biking is the only consistent type of workout I can get.”
#8 – “Environment.”
No fuel (except the aforementioned cakes, beer, curry and Curly Wurlys) and you can park twenty bicycles in the same space as one car.
#9 – “Because I live three miles from work. Driving would be bone-idle.”
Not only is it good to get off your tush every now and then, but it also aids mental capacity.
Cycling aids creative thinking due to the increased flow of oxygen to your head which in turn stimulates your neurons. Turn up to work fresher and sharper than anyone else, and you may well see a benefit to your career while others are stagnating in traffic jams.
#10 – “Not wanting to be in a cage.”
Don’t be trapped by your vehicle.
Why waste time thinking about where to park, or when to pay your latest car tax and MOT. You have more important things to think about.
Break out of the traffic jam. Take in the fresh air. Give your body a boost. Go off the beaten track (or road at least). Go ride.
@discerningcyc exercise, environment, and not wanting to be in a cage
— Jake (@scorchedearthdj) June 3, 2014
We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to comment below.
Why do you cycle to work? Or, if you don’t, what puts you off?