Commuting to work never seems to get any easier whatever your choice of motorised transport happens to be as the roads become more busy and roadwork’s a more frequent occurrence. This has lead to an explosion in the number of commuter cyclists ditching the fossil fuelled vehicles and donning the lycra for the journey into the office. The government have been supporting those brave souls with the bike to work scheme making it easier to fund that bike purchase (the topic of our blog last week). This week we talk about the joys & pains of being a commuter cyclist.
UK Daily Commute
Surveys have revealed that the average UK daily commute to and from work is around 47 minutes. This time increases in London with the time extended to around 56 minutes with some surveys putting this at well over an hour. These times are covering a massive average distance of under 10 miles, those of you with much longer commute distances don’t wince we know many of you cover some galactic mileage. 10 miles sounds like a reasonably achievable distance for most frequent cyclists which over the week helps crank up a 100 miles worth of journeys.
UK Cycle Path Network
Unfortunately not all motorists are cyclist friendly and fail to provide enough space for us sharing their roads which fortunately has been addressed slowly over the past decade with the cycle path network now providing over 15,000 miles of signed cycle routes around the UK. Unfortunately compared to much of mainland Europe we are lagging poorly behind and many of our cycle paths achieved by painting a line 3 foot from the kerb don’t really cut it for delivering safe cycle routes.
Reservations in cycling to work
So what is holding back those of us who could cycle but vote with our feet and leave our bikes back in the garage? Aside from the monster mileage brigade travelling from Brighton to Blackpool the prospect of arriving at work in shorts and vest when your colleagues are suited and booted is enough to keep us away from the bike locks. If you don’t have bike storage and showers at work it can mean a day spent feeling pretty sticky and wowing your peers with your wiffy post ride commute.
My Point of view
For me the main barriers tend to be that lack of cycle paths putting me into direct combat against the cars and buses of our roads when I would favour a fast safe ride in building on my base fitness without having to find any extra hours in the week outside of work for this. Combining your commute with training is a great way to fit in enough miles each week to prepare for whatever your next race is, even better if you can find a route that keeps you off the roads and away from the heavy metal charging to the office. The joys and pains of being a commuter cyclist are very real but the benefits are hard to ignore for any triathlete seeking more training hours.
About the author – Billy is the founder of Trivelo bikes and a wannabe cyclist commuter on a more regular basis desperate for better cycle paths to help put in the miles each week.