Five Ways to Make Your Cycle to Work More Enjoyable

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Once you’ve checked the weather forecast, fuelled up for the day ahead, and perhaps rolled up your right trouser leg slightly, how else can you make your cycle to work more enjoyable?

In my generously-sized dream house there’s a generously-sized garage with seven bikes lined up in a row, and each one labelled with a different day of the week.

But it might be a while before that particular idea comes to fruition, so I’ve settled on some more practical methods to maximise the amount of smiling on my commute.ImageCrops3

How to cycle to work with a smile on your face every day

Leave 10 minutes earlier
I find that when I cut my journey too fine, I end up chomping at the bit if I get stuck at lots of red lights or hit an unexpected holdup. Leaving a bit earlier allows you some slack, and means you don’t have to go pedal-to-the-metal for your entire commute. (And yes, it does mean getting up 10 minutes earlier, but think about how you could spend those spare 10 minutes when you do arrive at work… another coffee perhaps?)

Be prepared for a puncture
You don’t need to know how every last component on your bike works (I certainly don’t) but learning to fix a puncture can take a huge weight off your mind. Instead of dreading a flat tyre and the ensuing search and rescue mission to the nearest bike shop, you’ll be completely self-sufficient. Carry a spare inner tube, pump and levers with you — and for bonus points wrap it all in a tool-roll that you can easily transfer between bags or stash under your saddle.ImageCrops2

Take the scenic route
A couple of years ago I accidentally ended up with a perfect commute: through London’s Victoria Park and then along the Regent’s Canal towpath. Since then I’ve always experimented with my routes to work, with the aim of taking in green spaces whenever possible. (The cycling directions on Google Maps or Citymapper will help you tweak your route — and if you have a folding bike you could even hop on a train for some of the way to open up new options.) Taking in a park may add a few extra minutes to your journey, but scientific research shows that exposure to greenery does Good Things to our brains. Combine this with the physical health benefits of cycling and you’ll be invigorating your body and your brain each time you hop on your bike.

Pad your posterior
For those of us with longer journeys to work, some additional comfort is always welcome… especially on the journey home. You don’t need to wear an outfit that screams “Roadie!” though — our padded boxers can be discreetly worn under your shorts or trousers. And because they’re made from merino, they’re also odourless and highly breathable. Now if only the same could be said for London’s air…

Remember that it’s not a race
It’s easy to get riled up when someone whizzes past you. (Personally I find it extra hard if said person is on a Brompton, which inevitably is the case). But… it’s not a race, so who cares if people are overtaking you? Taking things at your own pace reduces aggro and gives you more time to take in the passing cityscape, or chew over the day ahead. And while you’re at it, consider turning Strava off too. After all, unless you’re Chris Froome, there’s always going to be someone faster than you.

Whilst we can’t control the traffic or the weather, we always have complete control over one thing — our reaction to what happens during the journey.

How do you maximise enjoyment on your cycle to work?

10 thoughts on “Five Ways to Make Your Cycle to Work More Enjoyable”

  1. Agree with above, speed read for the moment but got the gist. Would add, get some proper cycle training if going on the road, whatever age you are, might just save your life.

  2. “leave 10 minutes earlier” – is this a joke? Are you 5 years old?

    I think the internet would be a better place without these nannying, patronising and mind-numbingly banal posts.

    1. It would also be better with a little manners Edward. There’s a human behind each of our blogs who spent time and effort on each. And what you may feel is basic, isn’t to someone else. Ride well, Nick.

  3. Totally agree with the tips but sometimes there is no alternative route when cycling to work for a scenic route. And as I have experienced, you can pad out your posterior but is will not eliminate the God awful routes we sometimes have to use due to poor maintenance & bad installation of ‘cycle infrastructure’. Sure hell hurts all over after riding what should be classed as an off road route as had more lumps & bumps, sheer drops than a dirt track would.

  4. Being generous on the road, to pedestrians, drivers, other cyclists leaves a much longer lasting sweet feeling than being aggressive. And who really needs to get to work thirty seconds earlier.

    Saying hello to regulars is nice too. Whenever I feel down I go to a local bridge over a dual carriageway and wave at drivers, at least one person waves back and it’s a lovely connection that I get every day from this guy in a pork pie hat who walks his dog in the park I cycle through on my commute. Trees and a friendly wave make for a great start to the day.

    1. I think you’re spot on Ben. We need more “Hellos” and more waving too… I’ll never forget the time a chap lifted both hands off his bars to give me a Mexican wave whilst out cycling in Essex.

  5. Of course, it isn’t all about walking in the park. It’s OK to get your kicks spinning it up out of the stoplights, too, which has the added benefit of encouraging you to follow the rules of the road (stopping at lights) instead of keeping up your speed illegally across intersections.

  6. I love cycling round that part of London, the canal and the River Lea. There are some great cafes too, particularly the Counter Cafe on Roach Road which has its own roaster, art exhibitions and a seating area afloat on the river.

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