When I tell people that I cycle to work, the usual response is an eyebrow raise and the words: ‘You’re brave.’
For some reason, fears abound when it comes to jumping on a bike. You could be mowed down by a lorry, people tell me. It might be basically free, but who wants to tackle junctions on two wheels and dodge cars, only to turn up at work exhausted before you’ve even switched on your computer?!
But I would say, on a day-to-day basis, the benefits of pedalling to work far outweigh the potential risks. And sure, you might be exhausted after your debut cycle to work, but it’s amazing how quickly your body adjusts.
Here are just a few more reasons why cycling to work boosts wellbeing, and is one of the best parts of my day…
1. It gives you a sense of achievement
By the time you get to work, you already feel like you’ve achieved something. Tackling a hill, swooshing under a bridge, beating yesterday’s time, smugly cycling past a bus – even a mile or two of this leaves you feeling pretty amazing.
2. It cuts out gym guilt – but is still great exercise
No early morning yoga class or weights session required. In fact, when you’re doing a fair few miles on the bike each day, you don’t ever need to feel guilty about not going to the gym again.
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August 8th is cycle to work day and you may be thinking about joining the many staff on campus who regularly swap 4 wheels for 2. Biking to and from work is one of the best habits you can adopt and brings with it a wealth of health, environmental and financial benefits. August's Juice wellbeing newsletter gives staff at the Faculty of Engineering a few tips to adopt this new healthy lifestyle habit. #bike2work #cycle2work #cycletoworkday #workplacewellbeing
3. It offers a moment of mindfulness
Cycling to work means a solid block of solo, processing time. On the way in, you can get all your planning for the day done, going over any problems or issues you’ll have to deal with, writing responses and questions in your head. While on the way home, all the buzzy work stuff in your brain gets dealt with by the time you whip your helmet off and get in the door. It makes the logistics of life much more manageable.
4. It’s a time out
Sometimes, instead of using it as thinking time, it can be pure not-thinking time. You can totally empty your mind and just focus on your feet pedalling round. It’s like a form of meditation (although, the road rage at inconsiderate drivers also offers some anger release too).
5. It guarantees fresh air, nature and vitamin D
And beats the indoor trudge of a spin class.
6. It’s a stress buster
Between the mindfulness of being out on your bike, the endorphins from the exercise, and the joy that comes from eliminating maddening train or car commutes, cycling is seriously calming.
7. It’s cheap
If money is a worry, opting to bike to work rather than driving or paying for public transport can really help relieve financial stresses.
8. It makes you feel free
Whether you struggle from a form of anxiety or claustrophobia, or just like to be in total control of what you’re doing, where you’re going, and when you can leave (without relying on lifts or catching a bus), cycling offers a healthy, empowering way out. Plus, if you pick up enough speed, it almost feels like you’re flying.
- Press Association