Cycling to work: what are the benefits and top tips?

Cyclist in the city

There are many benefits to cycling to work, with more people choosing to do this every year in Scotland.

The most obvious benefit of cycling to work on a daily basis is health. As the NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week, cycling to and from work for 15 minutes each way per day is an easy way to achieve this goal.

Cycling to work also saves the time spent waiting on public transport or sitting in traffic, as well as saving money on fuel, parking and public transport costs. So what’s not to like?

10 top tips for cycling to work

For those who are keen to cycle to work or are considering doing so, here are ten top tips to make your journey easier:

1. Plan your cycle route in advance

It is a good idea to have a look online to plan out the best route to cycle to your workplace. If you are new to cycling, you may want to take the shortest route or avoid busy roads.

2. Practice cycle in advance

Once you have decided what route you will take, do a practice run. This will give you an idea of how long it will take to get there and ensure that you won’t be late to work.

3. Keep your bike secure

Make sure there is somewhere to lock up your bike at work. If your workplace doesn’t have these facilities, have a look on your practice run to see if there is anywhere to lock up your bike nearby.

4. Get the right equipment

If you don’t already own a bike, do a bit of research into which bike is best for the purpose you intend to use it for.  It is also important to consider safety accessories and reflective items.

5. The right cycling clothing

Once you have the equipment, you will also need comfortable and practical clothes to cycle in. Make sure that these are weather appropriate for the time of year and are high-visibility to ensure that other road users will be able to see you.

6. Essentials: cleansing wipes, towel and deodorant

It is also a good idea to take cleansing wipes, a towel and deodorant with you to work if your workplace doesn’t have a shower or washroom.

If you are changing clothes when you arrive at work, try to choose clothes that will not crease easily and roll these up in your bag. If you are not changing clothes, you may want to consider wearing a vest under your clothes.

7. Cycle at your own pace

If you are a beginner cyclist, make sure to take each journey at your own pace. You may wish to build up your cycling by only doing this a couple of days a week at first and then increasing this as your body gets used to it.

8. Cool down

In the last five minutes of your journey, slow down your pace. This will allow your body to cool down before going into work.

9. Be confident on the road

Before cycling on a road, you should know how to signal, how to position yourself properly on a road and how to use roundabouts.

Further advice can be found at Reminder to cyclists – what you need to remember on the road.

10. Be prepared for different types of weather

The weather can change throughout the day and it is important to be prepared. Find further advice on how to prepare for sunshine and cycling in winter conditions such as snow. 

Finally, if you don’t feel confident enough to cycle for your entire journey to work – or if you have a longer commute - it may be worth looking into simply cycling to a train station and taking the train for the remainder of your journey. Many train stations have facilities to lock up your bike or even have on-board facilities to take your bike with you.