Commuting to work by bike can be a real bonus for those trying to squeeze in enough training hours for some serious competitions in either triathlon or cycling. With hours spent each day merely reaching our places of work if you can trade these lost moments for quality training you are well on your way to hitting your weekly targets. Unfortunately while this sounds simple the winter months make this a less than straight forward affair. Below are the top tips we have gathered from those in Team Trivelo lucky enough to include cycling to work as part of their daily lives.
Tip One – Have the right kit
Cycling in winter means lights first and foremost. Drivers often fail to give cyclists enough space but when you factor in dark mornings and nights with poor visibility this only becomes worse. Get some good lights and make sure you have spare batteries or the means to charge them at work so you aren’t stranded without light for the return leg. Base layers, gloves, tights, overshoes, helmet inners, neck liners….the list is huge but make no mistake it can get cold on a bike even working it on the hills so scrimping on kit can make the whole encounter unpleasant and potentially bad for your health. Something you might not consider immediately is the right bag here. I’m sure your workplace love lycra but chances are you will need spare clothes and possibly some equipment to transport and that bag for life from Asda isn’t going to cut it slung over your shoulder. Your bike may need some “pimping” with suitable tyres & mudguards as well in addition to the stadium powered floodlights. Finally unfortunately is some serious form of lock unless you have a super secure bike store at your workplace which means lugging about some hefty D-Lock or similar. It sucks and you’d rather dump the extra 2 kilos but with bike crime continually on the rise don’t let some idiot get your pride and joy.
Tip Two – Planning makes the morning less stressful
Do you know the best route, sure you know where your office is but have you ever considered how to get there on two wheels with thousands of other maniacs trying not to be late for their first coffee of the day. Find a sensible course where you can make as much use of any trails or cycle paths and avoid the frenzy of cars and buses. Work out what facilities your kind employer has to offer, is there a decent shower, lockers for your kit, maybe even a drying room to help thaw out your thermals? Parking up unwashed as you log in isn’t the best way to build relationships with your colleagues as you whiff your way through the day. Have you bike prepped and ready to go in the morning, check it over in the same way the night before that you would do before a race. A puncture or broken chain at 7am isn’t much fun in February while you hide from the puddles.
Tip Three – Enjoy your ride
Remember you could be squeezed onto a bus beside a member of the public with less personal hygiene than yourself. Instead you are out on your bike enjoying the fresh air & getting in some miles without having to trade your lie-in at the weekend or sweating it on your turbo trainer at night. Don’t expect to set any records just take it easy and make your way in safely at a pace you can maintain while staying alert of the obstacles around you.
About the author – Billy is the founder of Trivelo Bikes & lucky enough to get on his bike for work every now and then.