The lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease and we’re all starting to think about what will happen when we return to work as usual. For many of us, that would normally mean returning to busy public transport or busy roads, but social distancing is tricky when you’re on a bus or train. So, how can we get ourselves to work while keeping ourselves safe?
Here at Halfords, we think cycling is the way to go. Not only can you maintain a safe distance from others, but cycling to work also brings a whole host of other benefits. Here’s our case for why you should switch out your car or public transport for a bike in the weeks to come.
It’s quicker and easier
Unless you live in the country or are lucky enough to work close to home, then you’ve probably spent way too much time stuck in congestion or fighting to get on and off public transport. Commuting by bike removes all of this hassle and puts you in charge of your journey.
While any bike will get you from home to work, there are certain types that will make commuting even easier. Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are a speedy, eco-friendly and cost-effective way to get around. They’re perfect for commuters because the onboard motor assists with pedalling, reducing the level of exertion required and enabling you to arrive at work feeling fresh and ready to go. You can even travel in your work clothes, which means you won’t have to drag a change of clothes back and forth.
The motor provides assistance up to 15.5mph (at speeds above this, it’s all down to you!) and it also helps you to accelerate from a stationary position, which is ideal if you’re navigating through junctions and traffic lights. Add in the fact that the motor will help to compensate for the weight of a bike bag or bike pannier and it’s clear that electric bikes are a top choice for any commuter. Check out our electric bikes buying guide to find the perfect match for you.
Another option is folding bikes. Portable and easy to store, folding bikes allow you to combine bike-based commuting with another form. They can also be taken into most workplaces with you, removing the need to find a secure place to lock up your bike. There are even folding electric bikes on the market, if you want to enjoy the best of both worlds.
It’s good for your health
Okay, so any exercise is good for your health. But cycling is one of the best forms of cardio exercise out there. It provides a low-impact workout that helps to strengthen your leg muscles and gets your heart pumping. Best of all, you’ll burn off more calories than you would during a walk or run!
Cycling’s also great if you’ve got any aches or niggles in your hips, knees or feet, as it’s low-impact exercise takes the pressure off these weight-bearing joints.
It’s more predictable
Accident on the motorway? No problem. Signalling failure on the trains? Don’t worry about it. Broken water pipe partially blocking a road? Not an issue. When you’re on a bike, with the freedom to zip through queues, unexpected delays become a problem of the past.
You can leave work at the same time everyday and be safe in the knowledge that you’ll be pulling up at your front door exactly when you expect to. Which is great when you’ve got those evening activities carefully scheduled in!
Keeping a car on the road can be expensive and so can paying out for public transport every month. Cycling, on the other hand, can be a really cost-effective way of getting yourself to and from work. You only have to buy a bike and the necessary safety equipment – and we even have a UK-wide scheme to help you with that.
Halford’s Cycle to Work scheme allows employers to ‘loan’ bikes and cycling safety equipment to employees as a tax-free benefit. What this means in practice is that the employer buys a bike for you to ride to work and you ‘hire’ it by sacrificing a percentage of your salary each month (you don’t pay tax on the salary you sacrifice, which is where the saving comes in). Once you’ve paid off the cost of the bike, it’s yours to keep.
The scheme is open to employers of all sizes and we have a dedicated Cycle to Work platform to support all employers and employees that want to join the scheme.
It’s good for the environment
One of the unexpected benefits of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the dramatic drop in CO2 levels in many major towns and cities across the UK.
By commuting by bike, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help to maintain this positive development once life has begun to return to normal.
It’s receiving serious investment
There’s never been a better time to take up commuting by bike. The government recently announced plans to boost greener, more active transport by investing £2 billion in measures designed to encourage walking and cycling.
The first stage of these plans will include pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements, safer junctions and cycle and bus-only corridors, with the government aiming to double the number of cyclists in the UK by 2025. So why not get on your bike and join them?
Been bitten by the bike commuting bug? Well, you can find our full range of bikes online if you’re looking to buy something new. Or if you’ve got a faithful old bike that’s been living in storage then take advantage of our free bike health check to ensure it’s in a roadworthy condition.
We’ve also got a range of essential commuting gear for you to get your hands on – check out our recent blog article to find out more.