Interested in cycling to work but not sure where to start? Read our 101 quick start guide to commuting by Mycle, and you'll be enjoying the benefits in no time!
It’s fair to say that one of the few positives to come out of the past two years is the resurgence in local living, the importance of decreasing our carbon footprint and decreasing our reliance on fuel guzzling vehicles. Exploring a life lived locally is back in fashion and we are keen to make it stay with a commitment to affordable travel by electric bikes.
And with cycling to work at a height of popularity, there is no better time to start than now. There are so many good reasons to start commuting by bike, and a bit of battery power could be the added 'oomph' you need to give it whirl and commute to work with confidence.
Below are our top tips on how to get started with your cycle commute and then how to enjoy it all year round, without braking the bank!
Where to start
A common misconception is to think you'll need loads of very expensive kit to start cycling to work.
Well the truth is you don't 'need' much to get started, so don't let that side of things be an excuse to not start the cycling commute.
The kit we would recommend to get started would be a working bike, a helmet (not legally required but very few people actually have metal heads) a pannier bag/backpack for your clothes, working lights, a simple multi tool, a good lock and some high visibility clothing. That's it - the rest are just want’s and nice to have’s.
Our Mycle Compact folding electric bike not only starts at just £749, but comes with a simple tool kit, front light powered by the bikes battery and a removable battery in the seat allowing you to easily remove for recharging when you get home or to the office.
Know your route, but not as you knew it before
The chances are that you already have a perfectly plotted route that you use everyday, to and from work. However if this is the route you use for a car or public transport commute then it may be necessary for a change. The easiest way to achieve this would be using your smartphone.
The majority of map apps have a vehicle selection tool, where by selecting a push bike, will alter your route accordingly. It will incorporate cycle paths, take you down otherwise dead ends, possibly take you along a canal and just generally optimise your route with your two wheeled friend in mind.
The best part about this is that you will already have the technology to do this and will only need a cheap to buy, bike phone holder. You certainly don't need to listen to Gregg from accounts who is adamant that you need to spend £200 on a GPS device to cycle to work (talking from experience)!
There are a few other ways to plan your route which are specifically designed for the task. Consider visiting Cycling UK's journey planner which has the ability to plot a route, door to door and has extra information over and above what a map app would have. You can also use apps like Komoot to find a good route to work, one that is more bike friendly. Komoot also has the ability to plan your route from a home or work computer and then send it to your smartphone. This is when you will appreciate owning a phone holder for your bike.
What's even better is if you have a long commute, our Compact folds up to fit perfectly in the boot of a car or the luggage section of a train. So whether you take the first part of your journey by train or car, you can also was unfold the bike in 10 seconds and take the second part by two wheels.
If you are nervous about other vehicles, getting lost or falling off, it is always worth practising over a weekend when traffic is light and the pressure is off. You can do this a few weekends before you start and call it leisure. And with 5 levels of electric pedal assist on our Mycle electric bikes, it makes keeping up with the flow of city traffic much easier and less daunting. End result, a more confident first week of actual commuting.
Starting to commute by bike is made so much easier if you plan ahead. Prepping your bike, charging the battery and packing your bag the night before will become your friend, and should reduce your ability to reconsider your commute in the morning. And with our Mycle compact, you can purchase an additional charger for only £35 to keep at work just in case.
The distance and difficulty of the ride will dictate what you need to pack in terms of attire. A short and easy ride may see you be able to ride in your actual work clothes however the longer and steeper it gets, the more additional clothing you will want to pack. Pedal assist Mycle electric bikes are great as you can chose how much assist you want, giving you more or less of a work out in the morning.
Check out if your work has a shower that you can utilise ? My last three places of work have had showers, all of which have been clean, tidy and a pleasure to use (make sure that you leave them how you find them, don't be the talk of the cycling commuters by leaving them in a mess for the next person to find).
Start Steady and keep fuelled
Don’t start doing this with the attitude of “I’m going to ride in 5 out of 7 days and throw in a leisure ride on the weekend. It is important to start slow and build your fitness and stamina.
If you are already very fit and just starting to cycle this may not apply to you, but many will benefit from a steady build especially when you realise that cycling uses different muscle groups to other long distance exercises.
The distance soon adds up, especially if you are riding to and from work. A relatively tame 10km ride soon becomes 100km if you are doing it Monday to Friday, there and back.
When starting out people always try to do a complete trip in 1 day, why not break it up to ease into it. Ride into work on a Wednesday, leave the bike overnight and ride home on Thursday. Or break up your journey by using the train or car to start, and cycle the rest of the way. Obviously this only works if you have an alternative method of transport but you could use public transport or share a ride with a colleague.
Another great reason to take up commuting by bike, the more you ride, the more you need to eat. Nothing better than a guilt free treat when you know you are about to rack up the miles. You will need additional calories to help get you home at night, food is your new fuel and is actually more easily available than petrol or diesel right now.
So now it's just up to you to give it a go. Remember that you are trying no mean feat with this so don't be too hard on yourself. Start off gradually and take your time. You will be amazed at how quickly you build ability, fitness and stamina. As it gets easier, throw in additional days and in no time it will be a Monday to Friday thing for you. We think it's the best way to start and end your day!
I hope that this has been helpful and a pedal in the right direction.
Many thanks for reading. Matt
Did you know? We are also on Cyclescheme, the UK's most popular cycle to work platform - allowing you to purchase your Mycle bike tax free! Find out more by clicking here.