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Cycling to Work – Best Thing You’ve Never Done

I admit it. I want to be Bradley Wiggins. In fact, as long as I can have the sideburns I would be happy to be any of Great Britain’s Olympic cyclists. Unfortunately, at my age it may be a little too late to change my career. However, cycling fever has still inspired me – I’ve started cycling to work again.

Joining me in Britain’s cycling revolution will not only give a noticeable saving on fuel bills but the feel-good factor extends way beyond saving the planet. Cycling can have a huge impact on your life. So on your bike –and to help I’ll give you a push start!

Cycling to save on car bills

Not using petrol in your car will provide a large and instant saving. With the price of petrol you will be surprised just how much it can be. Just using your car for social use and those days where cycling is impossible (don’t worry it is allowed!) will also save money in other ways. Every time you cycle you are saving the wear and tear on your car so car maintenance will cost less. For example, for the price of a new set of tyres you could buy a brand new bike! Also if you pay to park there will be a saving and using your car for less miles could mean paying less on your car insurance.

Getting the right cycling equipment

For comfort and safety it is important that before you start you have the right equipment. Top of that list, even before the bike, is a helmet. Though it is not the legal requirement, do not cycle without one. Tour de-France winner Bradley Wiggins believes everyone should ride with a helmet on. He is right – it may save your life.

Next the bike itself. Getting the right bike is not difficult but will play a large part in whether you make cycling a regular part of your life. You want your bike to be comfortable and good for your route.

There are two main types of bike: mountain and road. A road bike is designed for speed on road, including handle bars where you can bend over the handle bars and lean into the saddle. On a mountain bike you are sat more upright. With thicker tyres it is also more durable on rough terrain but as a result is slower on the road. There are hybrid versions but these are the main choices. Assess your route and if you’re buying a new bike, just try out a few of the styles in the shop. Don’t worry it is not complicated – you will know very quickly what is best for you.

You maybe able to purchase the bike through a cycle to work scheme, but be sure to fully understand the repayments before signing up. A local bike shop maybe able to offer a better deal for a cash payment upfront.

Whatever the bike, make sure it is the right size for you. The general rule is when sitting on the bike you need to be able to put both feet on the ground while having your legs nearly fully extended. You can adjust the seat and handle bars to get it just right. Also, it may be worth investing in a quality seat; you don’t want to be saddle sore!

The other essentials include: lights and a high visibility vest for all night cycling, comfortable riding shoes and a bag to carry anything you need.

It can change your life

Cycling to work can make a huge impact on your life. You will feel happier and get fitter. Exercise is a proven way of boosting emotional well being.

This is the most underrated part of cycling. Being active will kick start your work day and on the way home you can cycle away stress making the evenings more relaxing.

Make it work for you. Organise leaving things that you don’t need to carry at work. Also, wet wipes and deodorant will mean you start work feeling clean and not sweaty. In addition, do not feel bad if you have to use the car some days – we all have to use the car sometimes. If you think cycling is too much at the moment you can practice to build confidence.

Like me, you may never be Bradley Wiggins but you will save money in more ways then you realise, save the environment and you never know what your new found happiness will bring – for me, maybe the confidence to grow those side burns!

Written by Michael Hallam

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