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How to start cycling to work

men and women cycling to work in the city

Cycling to work is good for your health and wellbeing

Cycling to work is a great way of fitting more activity into your busy daily routine. It’s also good for the environment as you won’t be burning any fossil fuels on your commute - the only fuel you’ll need is your breakfast.

But how to start cycling to work? You don't need a complicated programme or a detailed plan to start cycling, just a bike and the willingness to give it a go.

With Cycle to Work Day happening on Wednesday 13th September 2017, there's no better time to get started. Simply pledge how far you'll be cycling and you'll be entered into the big prize giveaway. 

Some people worry about not having a shower at work. But this isn't a problem, just take it easy when you cycle in. In many cycle friendly cities biking is seen as walking with wheels, rather than fast paced exercise.

If you haven’t tried it before you’ve probably got some questions about how to begin but with a little preparation and our bike commuting tips below you can enjoy a healthy, cheap start to the day.

Can I cycle that far?

A rough rule of thumb is that most people can cover about five miles in half an hour. It might take some time to build up to the distance you need to cover but in the meantime you’re fitting physical activity into your daily routine instead of trying to find time to exercise after work.

If you’ve got a long way to travel why not put your bike in the car and just cycle the last bit? Chances are this will be the bit that involves traffic jams, frustration and idling engines. You might be surprised by how quickly you’re ready to increase the distance too.

I don’t feel confident cycling on busy roads.

Get some cycle training if you think you need it, especially if you haven’t cycled for a long time.

Look into routes that avoid busy roads. A common mistake is to assume that the only route to work is on the main road with all the rush-hour cars.

If anyone from your workplace already cycles your way ask them about the routes they take or even ask them to bike buddy with you.

My bike isn’t in great condition.

If you’re not sure whether your bike is safe, find time to check it over. Our simple bike maintenance video shows you how, but take it to a local bike mechanic if you’re still not certain.

If it’s safe to ride, just give it a go. You can think about whether a better bike might make it even more enjoyable once you’ve decided to continue cycling to work. Look into the Cycle to Work scheme too. If your workplace isn’t signed up then perhaps you could suggest it to show they support employees who cycle to work.

Won’t I arrive at work hot and bothered? Or drenched by the rain?

Cycle gently and give yourself plenty of time – there’s no need to race, so no need to get sweaty.

You may not believe this but it doesn’t always rain, so just carry waterproofs rolled up in a bag for when you need them. If it’s really chucking it down on the day you planned to try cycling it’s fine to put it off until the next dry day. 

How do I keep my bike safe?

Getting your bike stolen will seriously ruin your day (and probably your enthusiasm for cycling). You really do need to spend about £30 on a good solid D-lock, and think about how and where to lock your bike.

If your workplace doesn’t provide enough cycle parking then maybe suggest they look into this. 

Perhaps the most difficult thing about cycling to work is breaking the habit of driving. A little bit of preparation is key and if you’ve read this far you’re probably seriously thinking about it. So why not take the next step and give it a go?

We've got plenty of tips to help you start cycling to work: