Cycling is on the up with more of us ditching the car in favour of a pushbike and tight lycra than in recent memory.
Some 6.5 million Brits aged over 18 (or 13 per cent of the adult population) ride a bike at least once a week, with 1.5 million cycling every day, according to the latest available figures.
Cycle traffic has increased almost every year since 2008 and one in six motorists cycle more than twice a month, while four in five cyclists hold a driving licence.
This Friday (May 19th) is National Bike to Work Day – the one day of the year aimed at promoting the notion of getting into the office on pedal power alone.
It should be little surprise that the vast majority of us at Motor-Vision drive into the office, so it got us thinking, what would we miss if we biked it in instead?
Wet and sweaty
As sure as night follows day, March marks a notable uplift in the number of cyclists on British roads as the weather improves and mornings get lighter with the switch to British Summer Time.
However, even in the spring and summer, you’re not guaranteed the weather and look at the downpours we’ve had recently.
You’d ride into the office looking like a nearly drowned cat! Not a good look.
Say you escape the rain, you’re still not guaranteed to arrive at work bone dry due to getting hot and bothered and ewww, sweaty.
Some motorists can’t drive a mile down the road without putting their desired destination into a sat-nav, and while it may be highly likely you know your route into the office, what happens if you need to divert for whatever reason? Or if you’re heading somewhere else afterwards?
How on earth are you meant to know where you’re going without your sacred sat-nav?
No boot space
Similarly, what if you have to bring a load of stuff back from work? It’s unlikely you have a bike trailer lying around and stuffing all that gear into a backpack will make for an uncomfortable ride home.
With a car, you can just chuck it all in the boot or on the back seats and worry about it later.
If you carpool or have kids to drop off in the morning, then switching to a solitary bicycle will make your commutes a pretty lonesome affair. You’ll have nobody to chat to, joke with or sing along to the radio with, speaking of which…
Just the sound of surrounding traffic and your tyres on the road. Some cyclists stick their earphones in but blocking out the sound of nearby cars isn’t exactly the safest idea when you’re already a vulnerable road user.
In the interest of fairness, there are many advantages to riding into work.
Vegging out in your car may be the most appealing way of getting into work but it doesn’t burn many calories. By pedalling in, you’ll get the blood pumping nice and early, arriving bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for the day.
Running a bike is a lot less financially demanding than what goes into running a car.
You can pick up a decent bike for around £500 new, while extra kit like helmet, lights and a pump won’t set you back much more than £40 altogether.
Most cars priced at £500 in the classifieds are nasty rustbuckets with error lights waiting in the wings to sting you at your local car repair garage.
As the number of cars on UK roads continues to grow every year, it can actually be quicker biking it in. I actually halved my overall commute time by cycling in, plus I don’t have to wait for a stinky, cramped bus.
It’s safer than ever
Despite the number of lunatics on the road, riding a bike is actually very safe and since 2010, the number of cyclists killed on UK roads has fallen to its lowest level on record. Drivers are more aware and careful around cyclists today than ever before.
However, in 2015, some 3,337 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in Britain – that’s nine every day.
Car makers are constantly cramming even more fancy gadgets into their models and interiors are becoming increasingly more refined.
Driving is generally more convenient and practical, so it’s a tough ask to try and coax motorists out of their plush mechanical cocoons.
But there are myriad benefits to cycling into work and we hope at least some of you explore these options this National Bike to Work Day.
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