Do you cycle to work? The environment thanks you, and so do your pockets. Not to mention your health.
We already know that you love cycling. You definitely go for a bike ride two or three times a week, at least when the weather permits it. In winter, you might train indoors on rollers to stay fit for the upcoming warmer months. But have you ever thought you could kill two birds with one stone?
WHY CYCLE TO WORK?
Cycling to work will definitely help you avoid time-consuming traffic jams, but there are many benefits too. You’ll have the chance to increase the frequency of your training to a daily occurrence. Just imagine: no public transport packed full of people to try to squeeze into at your stop, much lower mileage values on your car’s odometer and more money in your pockets at the end of the month. But above all, the awareness that you are actively contributing towards improving the air quality in your city.
THINK ABOUT YOUR HEALTH
The first cause of death at global level is from cardiovascular disease, including strokes and heart attacks. In Italy, the World Health Organization data shows a percentage incidence of 34.8% of all deaths. What is the main way to counter this? Prevention is better than cure. A daily routine where physical exercise becomes functional to your home-work or home-school commute allows you to do cardiovascular exercises that will help you feel better throughout your day.
Cycling trains your legs, it trains your heat, but it also trains your mind. If you cycle at the right pace, once you are breathing regularly, you can relax and think. This will definitely also benefit your daily productivity. Even your interpersonal relations will improve thanks to your recovered good mood.
TIME AND MONEY. CYCLING MEANS SAVING
Have you ever done some serious sums? What are your fixed costs deriving from your home-work commute? Fuel, parking, car maintenance: for many people, these certainly constitute a huge monthly expenditure. You could think about saving money by taking public transport, but in that case you would be subjected to stress caused by set times, changes, delays and cancellations. Cycling is much better, as it gives you the flexibility you need to pop to the supermarket when your friends invite themselves over for dinner.
And what about the amount of time you’ll save? Consider that statistically, half your car journeys cover less than 5 kilometres. Let’s instead suppose that you live about ten kilometres away from your office. By car, if you travel along extra-urban roads with average traffic levels (respecting the highway code), it could take you between 20 and 25 minutes to get to work. With a quality bicycle and proper training, you could easily keep up an average pace of 20 kilometres per hour, reaching your destination in 30 or 35 minutes. Certainly, you’ll have to wake up a few minutes earlier, but you’ll have saved time on your evening training sessions.
A HERO FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
You’ve definitely heard of Global Warming. It’s a big problem for us, but an even bigger one for our children. It is necessary for us to remember what we can do for the health of our planet simply by reducing the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Being part of the change today is no longer just an option; it has become our duty.
WHICH BIKE SHOULD YOU USE TO CYCLE TO WORK?
In our collective imagination, a bicycle to get around town is the classic urban model in steel, perhaps with a basket and a pannier rack. The truth is that any bicycle can fit the bill, but there are some models which can better accommodate the needs of an expert cyclist.
Obviously, the starting point to choose the most suitable bicycle for you is an analysis of the journey you will be making. How many kilometres will you be travelling? What condition is the road surface? What type of terrain will you be covering?
According to this information, you can then decide. You could consider a comfortable commuter bike with flat handlebars and an aluminium frame or your average carbon racing bike, fitted with the right accessories. One thing is certain, you cannot do without a front light and a rear safety light. A gravel model could also be a feasible option, if you need a fast yet concurrently versatile bike. Wheels with wide channel rims suitable to contain wide and hybrid tyres are ideal for the average Italian road. You may encounter one or two extra potholes, as well as some sleeping policemen and speed bumps. On a gravel bike, you will also have the opportunity to fit bags which you can place your lunch in or spare clothes for your day at work. Another vital accessory for commuting by bike is the mudguard. This might cause you some concern about the loss of aesthetics but to be honest these days some of the mudguards available for sale are really quite discreet. It’s a small compromise to avoid getting your work jacket splashed with mud, don’t you agree?
There are also electrical alternatives to all these bicycle types, which come in handy to minimise the effort if, for instance, you don’t have a changing room or a bathroom with a shower at your workplace (in this case remember to bring some wet wipes with you).
LET’S DISCUSS COMFORT AND SAFETY
“Cycling to work” is an activity which you could ideally do year-round. Obviously, both the hottest months and the coldest ones involve some degree of difficulty. For instance, in winter the days get shorter, so you may leave the office and have to cycle on poorly lit streets and roads. If this is the case, you must be prepared: always wear high-visibility clothing and accessories, such as our high-end wheels fitted with reflective stickers. Remember to keep your lights on at all times and to follow the highway code.
Choose your clothing carefully. You may need to change, or you may need to wear waterproof and breathable cycling gear which can be adapted and worn as outfits for your work day. For instance, there are Enduro-derived shoes, for flat pedals, which do not cause problems when you walk across pedestrian crossings or when you get off your bike. Similarly, you can opt for commuting jackets and trousers, which despite being highly technical, still offer a casual fit.
If the journey you are taking is very long and intricate, we recommend you opt for classic cycling apparel. Padded bib shorts will increase your comfort level on the saddle until you get to work. In this case, you could carry a change of clothes in a backpack or specific bags which can be attached to the bike frame.
There is a lot of talk about being environmentally-friendly, but the truth is that very few actually do something concrete to help change things. However, things are changing rapidly. Even in Italy, despite the imperfect condition of our cycle paths. In 2020, Italy saw a 17% rise in the sale of bicycles (more than 20 million bicycles sold), with significant peaks from the Gravel and E-Bike sectors. The global pandemic also changed our way of life and a lot of people are changing their opinion about bicycle use as Frequent bikers. What about you? Have you joined us yet?