Biking to work can be a great lifestyle change that makes you healthier in body and mind. And that’s not just an anecdotal statement: it’s backed up by real science. A study by the British Medical Journal followed a large group of people over a five-year period and found those that cycled to work were experiencing some major benefits.
We found that cycling to work was associated with a 41% lower risk of dying overall compared to commuting by car or public transport. Cycle commuters had a 52% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 40% lower risk of dying from cancer. They also had 46% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 45% lower risk of developing cancer at all.
Of course, biking to work is not feasible for everyone, but if it is something you can do, you could be reaping great rewards by saving money, boosting your health, and increasing your productivity and creativity.
So, with that in mind, here are seven things you should ask yourself if you want to become a bicycle commuter.
Is the distance manageable?
You will need to consider the time and energy that it will take to cover the distance from your home to your workplace. Scout the route to make sure the commute will be safe and manageable. Be sure to check at the times of day you will be traveling to and from work. Do this for a few days to evaluate the traffic, weather, and other variable factors.
What will the route be?
You have evaluated the distance and time it will take you. But is the most obvious route necessarily the best way to go? Think outside of the box. The route you take in your car may not be the best for your cycling commute. There could be a much safer and much quicker way. Plan your route by looking for neighborhood shortcuts. To make mapping out a bike route much easier, check out these five apps.
Are you healthy enough?
Check with your doctor to be sure you have a clean bill of health before you jump into any new exercise routine. You may need to start smaller by biking around the neighborhood before you start morning treks to your work. Biking offers the great health benefits of cardio while being easier on your joints than other forms of exercise. But it is still important to make sure you are up for it. Also, make sure you have proper form when biking.
Do you have the right apparel?
High heels and pencil skirts are not the most conducive clothing for cycling. Loose suit pants can also be dangerous as they can get caught in the spokes. If your office has a strict clothes policy it may not fit with biking. However, if your wardrobe choices are a bit more flexible, go for it. Think about how you can adjust if needed. Wear a blazer and comfortable shoes but change what you have to when you get to work.
Will you have storage?
What will you do with your bike when you get to work? You do not want to just leave your bike out on the street. Fortunately, there are many good solutions, including freestanding bike racks, floor-to-ceiling bike racks, and storage units. Have a look at your workplace and see what your options are. You could encourage your office to install some wall mounts and get your co-workers on board with bike commuting. Bonus: some stylish wall mounts serve double duty as eye-catching office décor.
How will you freshen up?
We mentioned possibly changing clothes, but it is also a good idea to bring some wipes in case you get a little dirty. Similarly, helmets are essential, but helmet hair? Not so much. Consider keeping a can of your favorite dry shampoo to freshen up those locks. And get yourself a great backpack or tote that will be bicycle-friendly to carry the things you will need to freshen up and look and smell good throughout your work day post-commute.
What’s your backup plan?
It could be a bright, sunny day when you leave for work but raining heavily when it’s time to go home. Or maybe you’re regularly stuck at the office later than intended. It is a good idea to have a backup plan; a way to get home other than your bike if circumstances change in the day. Think public transportation, Uber, or a car ride with a good friend.
Give cycle commuting a try
If you do not already own a bicycle, consider renting one and see if commuting to work this way is a good fit before fully committing. Find someone with experience that can show you the way to make sure you are safe and injury-free.
Ready to transform your commute into something altogether more rewarding? Let us know your plan, and don’t forget to follow us on social media for more great office, productivity, and lifestyle tips.