I was never really that into cycling and before now the last time I owned a bike was probably as a 15 year old, purely to see my friends after school whilst longing for the day when I would reach my 17th birthday so I could start driving lessons.
For me that changed when I decided to cycle to work 2 years ago so let me begin by telling you why ditching that car of yours isn’t such a bad idea…
- Cycle to work scheme
The government’s cycle to work scheme is a great initiative and it’s really simple; you choose a bike, hire it from your employer for a set period of time (this cost is automatically taken from your payslip) then transfer ownership over to you by snapping it up for a fraction of its original value. If you’re currently longing for that brand new road bike but simply can’t afford it this one’s for you. I purchased my very first road bike using this scheme around 2 years ago and I’ve been cycling ever since. I took full advantage of this scheme and so should you!
- Save those pennies
This I guess is in some part connected to the first point, but by splitting the cost of your bike across 12 months it allows you to gradually pay off the bill rather than being hit with one lump sum (especially if you’ve been eyeing up the carbon fork/frame bike where the thought of owning it was once a mere dream). The RAC reported that the average annual cost of a car in Britain today is around £6,689 or £557 per month – I don’t know about you but this translates to me as a lot of money that could be happily spent elsewhere. Think of all the money you could save on not only this but bus tickets and travel cards too. The cost of a bike is nothing in comparison and if you decided to ‘fork out’ for it rather than use the cycle to work scheme, you could essentially make that money back within the first month.
- Enjoy your surroundings
For me this is number 1 and nothing has been truer ever since my move to London. The ability to be able to see the big city and enjoy the surroundings is a big reason why I try to avoid the tube where possible. It’s so nice to be able to see the area you live in and enjoy the fresh air rather than being stuck underground or even on a bus. I know many people that travel through certain areas every day and know the tube lines off by heart, but don’t even know what the areas look like. There’s nothing like being at one with nature so get out and explore.
- Get lean
Imagine how virtuous, fit and healthy you could potentially feel after cycling to and from work every day for the next year? The beauty about cycling is that it’s low impact so you don’t need to worry about pounding those joints on the pavement everyday which would inevitably take its toll. I also love the fact that anybody can cycle regardless of fitness level or size. It’s a great way to get active as your fitness level will gradually increase, week by week without you even realising it.
- Make it a hobby
Is cycling a sport you’ve also wanted to get into? Maybe you’re harnessing the next Mark Cavendish or Laura Trott? Cycling as a hobby was something I certainly never envisaged taking seriously but 2 years later I’ve taken part in the London 2 Brighton bike ride, I’m currently preparing for RideLondon-100 and I often partake part in midweek 50 mile rides for “fun”. If you’ve been toying with the idea there’s no time like now to get into it and simply starting with a commute to and from work every day could be your starting block on the road to cycling greatness.
Do you want to get into cycling but can’t? Any questions on any of my tips? Do feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts!