The effects on your health aren’t just physical. Our riders found their mental health benefitted, too.
Phil’s ride allows him to put the rest of the world out of sight. “I find it pretty relaxing both before and after work,” he says. “I spend most of the time on my bike daydreaming rather than staring at my phone or working which is what I would do if I was on a bus or the train,” he says.
Lucy’s cycle home lets her decompress from the workday. “It makes me feel good. My ride home lets me transition out of whatever work stress or frustration I've experienced through the day,” she says. “I really notice the difference in my mood when I don't get to ride home – I feel like work's still sticking to me.”
Of course, riding also has its challenges – cars, a lack of bike lanes, bad weather, and self-doubt can all come into play – but planning is the key to mitigating any of these issues.
“Start in increments,” suggests Lucy. “Ride in one or two days per week and see how you feel; increase the frequency from there if you're feeling good. Plan your route ahead of time and try to stay on bike paths as much as possible. I take slight detours just to make my route safer – ultimately it's a much more pleasant, and often quicker, experience when I stay off busy main roads.” And finally, “Invest in good bike lights. They're expensive, but hopefully a one-off purchase, and they keep you safe!”
Some tips for Ride2Work Day:
- Swap out your regular bag for a backpack so you ride hands-free and take a change of clothes and a lock.
- Make sure your bike is serviced, your chains are oiled and your wheels have enough air in them.
- Don’t forget your helmet, a bike lock and bike lights.
- Plot out your route before you go, making sure to stay on roads with bike lanes where you can, and ask around to see if you can ride with a regular cyclist if you’re feeling unsure.