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Commuting To Work By Bike: Busting Some Myths

So, you’re thinking of cycling in and out to work, but every time you decide to do it, the logistics seem to get in the way and you think of a number of problems that seem insurmountable, so you put it off for another week, another month or maybe even another year.

But commuting to work is an excellent way to incorporate some extra cycling into your week. Even a 10k each way commute can add up to 100k of extra cycling/training per week if you work 5 days. So, let’s try and bust some of those myths around cycle commuting.

On the way to work with a colleague. Safety in numbers!

I’ll Get All Sweaty

Actually, you probably won’t, most days, at least. The key is to take your time going in and if you do break a sweat – assuming you don’t have access to a shower – baby wipes, tissues and a small towel can work wonders. Leave a change of clothes at work. You can always give it a lash going home!

It’s too dangerous

Cycling can be dangerous, and indeed there have been too many cycle related tragedies on our roads of late. But you’re still statistically more liable to be knocked down as a pedestrian than you are as a cyclist. There are measures you can take to stay safe: Light Up, cycle defensively, don’t do anything unpredictable. The risks from a sedentary, inactive life style are far greater than the risks from cycling.

I’ll be too tired.

Probably not actually, studies show that those who cycle to work are more energised and arrive to work in a better frame of mind than those who drive. Some exposure to daylight before and after a day under artificial light boosts the happy hormones. Also, cycling home in the evening is a great way to process the events of the day and clear the head.

I’ll be breathing toxic fumes

It’s true that cyclists in heavy traffic seem to inhale more toxic fumes than pedestrians, probably because they are breathing more heavily, but a study in America found that motorists inhale more toxic fumes than either pedestrians or cyclists. Regular cyclists have been shown to live longer than pedestrians, too.

It will take too long, I’d have to leave earlier

If you live in a city or a large town, this is not necessarily true. Sometimes biking is the quicker option, depending on traffic levels in your area. In my own personal case it works out about the same most days.

I’m not fit enough

True, getting fit takes a bit of work, but what better way to do it than cycling to work. You’re getting fit, saving money and helping the environment. It’s a win, win, win. Bear in mind too, that a 25k commute burns 800 calories. That’s 3 packs of Tayto! Make that win, win, win, win.

I can’t afford a new bike

You probably can. With the tax breaks available for bikes and accessories up to €1000 under the cycle to work scheme, plus the cash saved on fuel and bus fares, a new bike will pay for itself in a matter of months.

What about the weather? Won’t I get soaked every other day?

A few things here. First of all as someone once said there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes. So gear up. Also, the weather here is not as bad as we often think. The average temperature in Dublin and Amsterdam, (cycle commuting heaven, we’re led to believe) are very similar, with only a degree or two in the difference. The average rainfall is very similar too, according to the BBC website, with little difference between Dublin, Amsterdam and Copenhagen, although I’d imagine figure might be different in the West of the country.

Won’t I look like a scarecrow with ‘Helmet Hair’? 

Yeah, some things are just unavoidable. Sorry! 

Ride On!