Bicycle Network: Bikes 'n' Bits
From platform to pedal
Want to enjoy a guilt-free morning treat while smugly lording it over your fellow workmates? Stephen Corneille reveals the rich rewards of riding to work.
My decision to start riding to work was a gradual thing. Having decided it was a good idea, it took me another couple of years to actually take the plunge. My problem was that I was just too good at thinking up reasons not to. I did come up with solutions for all of the excuses eventually, but in retrospect I should have just stopped analysing and started riding. If you take nothing away from this article except that advice, then you'll be well on your way. For the over-analysers: keep reading.
The first thing to understand is why you want to ride. If you can come up with enough benefits to outweigh the disadvantages then you should be able to convince yourself that the only sensible thing for you to do is saddle up, and that any means of travelling to work (except walking) that doesn't involve bike riding is economically and socially unsound. Here are the justifications I used to convince myself:
Fitness – this one's pretty much a given. I thought I was fit from playing tennis, but I have no doubt that I'm much fitter now than I've been for 20 years.
Money saved – I was driving to the railway station and then catching a train. That train trip alone was costing me $50 a week; that's nearly $2,500 a year!
Mental health – I'm sure you know people who drag themselves into work in the mornings, look half asleep and aren't safe to talk to until they've had a coffee. I bet they don't ride to work. When you ride your brain is constantly processing information and making decisions at an enormous rate. Added to that, you're sucking in huge quantities of fresh air and burning calories. After a start like that, you're all revved up and ready to go as soon as you fire up the monitor. You have more energy and work seems easier.
Being holier than thou – this is linked to mental health. Riding your bike is good for the environment. If you're like me, you'll take endless enjoyment in constantly reminding everyone you work with that you're a better person than them because you ride a bike. There's plenty of ways to slip it into the conversation; and I usually do!
Apocryphal benefits – there are a few anticipated benefits that haven’t materialised. I've discussed this with other regular riders and they shared the same experience. The one everyone cited was that despite expectations they didn't lose a lot of weight. Everyone dropped a few kilos very quickly, but then their weight stabilised. In my case it's because I upped my calorie intake to match my new activity level. Those with more discipline might have better success here.
This article appeared in the Oct-Nov issue of Ride On magazine.
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