A recent poll by Forbes Health has revealed that “improving fitness” is the top New Year’s resolution for 2024, with nearly half of respondents (48%) vowing to get more physical in the coming months.
According to the cycling experts at Merlin Cycles, simple things such as changing your daily routine are one of the key elements to sticking to this resolution.
As we’re coming towards the end of winter and welcoming in the slightly warmer weather, you may decide to commute to work by bike instead of driving or using public transport.
For those keen to pick up this habit, the experts at Merlin Cycles have published a beginner’s guide to commuting by bike, which lists five helpful tips and guidance to make swapping your vehicle for a bike even easier:
1. Choose the more accessible paths
“A little bit of planning goes a long way with your commute to work route. Avoiding busy major roads and incorporating sections of bike paths and shared paths will reduce the stress of riding in traffic.
“Similarly, riding through parks, green spaces, canal tow paths, or off-road (if your bike is up to it) can all make your ride to work a much more enjoyable experience than sitting in motor traffic or on a crowded train.”
2. Consider the distance and terrain
“Riding 30 miles on a weekend is different from riding 30 miles to work, performing your job, and then riding 30 miles home. Be realistic; if you live 30 miles away from work, it just might not be doable long-term, day in and day out.
“Commuting to work is ideal for those who live less than 10 miles from work or 15 miles for more experienced, fitter riders. A commute time of less than an hour seems less daunting on a regular basis; depending on your route to work, a bike commute might not take much more time than the car, bus, or train. It is a great way to get daily exercise too.”
3. Make sure your bike is equipped
“As well as ensuring your bike is comfortable and able to roll along at a rapid speed, making sure it’s equipped with the following features will ensure safety for you and others around you.
- Bell: This must be fitted If your ride involves shared dual-use paths.
- Mudguards: If you are riding in all weather, mudguards or fenders will keep you much drier and cleaner. All bikes can fit mudguards these days, even ones without mudguard “eyelets”.
- Lights: Rechargeable USB lights are a great option; just make sure the runtime is greater than your ride time and consider carrying a spare light too. Many riders choose to use daylight running lights for extra visibility when riding in traffic.
4. Be mindful of parking
“The best option is to have your bike right next to your workspace, so you can keep an eye on it. However, this is not always practical or possible.
“The next best option is to have a workplace bike storage room or corner where bikes can be locked and only accessible to you and work colleagues. The least secure option is to lock your bike out in the open; if you have to do this, you will need to minimise the chances of your bike being stolen.”
5. Lock it the right way
“When it comes to locking your bike, use a proper bike lock. Locks from specialist manufacturers are far more difficult to break or remove than a cheap supermarket lock.
“A key tip here is to lock both wheels and the frame to an immovable object, with the lock mechanism facing away from passers-by and above the ground. This in turn makes a potential lock-break attempt more awkward and time-consuming.”