Now that people are starting to commute to work (or school) again, it be hard to get back into it, getting back into the saddle literally. Here are some excuses you might make and some excuse busters to go with them, I hope they might be able to motivate you to get back into commuting by bike.
Here are some common excuses for not riding your bike to work - do any of these ring a bell with you?
- Its too far
- Its too close
- My bike is uncomfortable
- The weather is bad
- I have a lot of things to carry
- I might go out after work for a drink
- The route is not very safe with traffic
- I can't be sweaty when i get to work
- There is no where to park / lock my bike
- I just don't feel like it today
- I need to wear formal clothes to work that are not suitable for cycling
- I'm not fit enough
- I don't want to arrive at work tired
Now let's go through these excuses one by one and attempt to debunk them. This will give you more reasons to cycle and less reasons not to!
Its too far
You can create a commute that is made up of cycling and another form of transport such as train or bus. For example, you can ride your bike to the train station and then leave the bike there. Even more smaller trips you might ride part way there and then get a bus for the second part of the route. A commute needn't be all or nothing, you will still gain many of the benefits of cycling if you even just cycle for 10 minutes. You can then build up your confidence and stamina to eventually ride your bike for a higher proportion of your overall journey.
Its too close
You might think that your commute is too close but if you commute there you could even go for a ride at lunch time. If you have to run errands during the day it is really handy to have your bicycle at work with you.
My bicycle is uncomfortable
If you bike is uncomfortable then this is your perfect opporunity to make it more comfortable. it doesn't have to cost a fortune, it might be the replacement of the saddle or it could even be adjusting the seat post to the correct height. If your commute is long then its definitely worth ensuring that your bike is the right size for you. It could be that the frame of your bicycle is not suitable for you. As you become more into it, you might even invest in a lighter frame.
The weather is bad and too cold
Cyclist magazine point out some tips for cycling in inclement weather. These include being prepared, getting a waterproof jacket and safety checks on brakes and such. Read this article here for all the tips. You can also read our blog post on 10 TIPS TO STAY WARM ON YOUR BIKE for guess what... tips to stay warm on your bike :)
The weather is too hot
When it is very hot, i find it much more pleasant to be on my bicycle than on a hot train or bus. Getting a sun tan is an additional plus. When the weather is really too hot to carry a bag on your back, then look into other ways of carrying your luggage such as a bicycle pannier bag. Check out ours at Goodordering.
I have a lot of things to carry
It can actually be easier to carry heavy things on a bike than by hand. You can easily load up your bike with the help of a bicycle pannier rack or handlebar bags. At Goodordering this is exactly what we focus on - bags that help you to commute. If I am carrying a load of groceries home i can easily load it up on my pannier rack in one of my pannier bags (which also double as a backpack), they are really strong and can carry a lot more than i can carry on my back.
I might go out after work for a drink
You should NOT drink and ride, so leave your bicycle somewhere safely locked up and get it the next day. If you have a bike locker at your work place (or school) leave it there and take the next morning off cycling and get back to it the next day.
The route is not very safe with traffic
You can look up routes that are safer and vary your route based on smaller streets. It might take longer but the commute will be more pleasant and safe. We have done another blog post on CYCLING MAPS where you can design the perfect commute with online tools that can even tell you info like elevation and time. You could make it a bit of a mission to design the perfect bike route for your commute.
I can't be sweaty when i get to work
Then have a shower or a wipe down when you get to your destination. You can get a packet of wet wipes which are great and can do the trick.
There is no where to park / lock my bike
This can be a big deterrent when cycling. However you can always experiment with different locations or get a bigger lock. There is a spot at Bethnal green station in london that is known for a hot spot for bike thieves. You can also change your commute a bit to leave your bike a bit further away from your final destination but somewhere far safer. Many train stations have safe bike parking with cctv. The can be inside the ticket gate which makes it much more secure.
I just don't feel like it today
Don't be hard on yourself, just have a day off! but don't underestimate how GOOD cycling can make you feel. You might not feel like cycling but often once you are on the bike you feel so much better and will be glad you made that decision to ride. Getting some fresh air and sunshine always makes me feel better and more optimistic about life.
I need to wear formal clothes to work that are not suitable for cycling
Keep some spare clothes at work. I used to have so many pairs of shoes under my desk at office that i could almost have a car boot sale! I would wear trainers on my bike to work and then change my shoes when i get to the office. You can do this with clothing as well.
I am not fit enough
You might not be fit enough when you start out but when you build it up your fitness levels will quickly improve. Start slow by just cycling once per week and then overtime build it up. You will be surprised that you will want to cycle more and more as your confidence levels and fitness improves. I love the ancient chinese quote "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". Just start and don't overthink it.
I don't want to arrive at work tired
You may find that you are invigorated and energised by your ride to work. Give it a go. Cycling and getting your blood pumping and fresh air in your lungs can be the best way to battle fatigue or a hang over.
I find it too boring, i can't play on my phone
This is a positive rather than a negative. Oftentimes i listen to podcasts whilst i'm riding my bike. You can still catch up on music or news using headphones (some say this is dangerous but i think it depends on your commute, traffic and also what you are listening to). You CAN multi-task whilst you are on your bike, in fact cycling in the ultimate multi-tasking activity as you are getting exercise and commuting at the same time. So if you normally use your phone to catch up with news on your commmute you can still do this on your bike with the right set of headphones that work with your helmet and commute.
There are many ways to talk yourself out of cycling to work. The trick is to ensure that you are prepared and have the correct gear and bicycle to make your commute pleasant. Remember it doesn't have to be all or nothing, you can part cycle and part walk/train/bus. Goodordering is all about encouraging more people to commute by bike, and our bags are specifically designed to work equally well on OR OFF a bicycle.