For seven years, cycling has been my primary way to get to work. I don’t have any sort of travel pass for the train or underground, and I’ve perfected a slick routine, involving various toiletries and shoes in each office. Until recently, cycling was also at the core of my exercise routine, and should be credited with vastly improving my health.
Then came running.
Over the past two years, running has stolen cycling’s thunder big time. When I had after-work plans, which would be easier without a bicycle, I would run to work. Increasingly, I started to run to work, even if it meant getting the train home, just to get in some longer runs during the week. Cycling blogs and magazines were replaced by running blogs and magazines. I focused on improving how far and fast I could run, dedicating time and money.
Cycling gradually became running’s poorer cousin . The back up, which hardly counts as exercise.
As I take a little time out from running this week, tail between my legs I go back to cycling, asking forgiveness. I was climbing the walls on Sunday having done no exercise all weekend, and cycling came to my rescue on Monday morning. Sometimes I need to remind myself….
There are some major advantages to cycling.
- It’s a quick way from A to B. My commute to either office is under an hour by bicyclle; faster than using public transport.
- It’s a cheap mode of transport. I put about £30 per month aside to maintain my bike, which is considerably less than the £225 per month a travel pass would cost me.
- It’s a pleasant mode of transport. My trains are absolutely packed. About two stops into my journey, the train is full, leaving people pointlessly shouting “can you move up the train please?” from the platform. I hate it.
- It’s a time saver. I get my workout in what would otherwise be dead time, spent bored on a train. There’s no need to get up early to go to the gym, or head back out for a run once I get home from work.
- It’s a free form of exercise. I don’t need to pay for an expensive gym membership.
- It’s door-to-door. I have heard cycling described as “the closest thing you’ll get to using a jet back” and I couldn’t agree more. It takes me from my house, to directly outside my office. For local journeys, it is incredible how much time it saves compared to walking or taking public transport.
- You can look “normal”. I have several outfits which are cycling-compatible, meaning I can cycle to meet with friends, or to get to the shops. I even have a Basil rear basket, which means I can take my own handbag (the basket stays locked to the bike).
- It’s low-impact exercise. Perfect for runners who will invariably get injured from time to time.
- It’s practical. I can carry a lot of stuff of my bike making the logistics far easier than running. Need to take my laptop home? No problem for the bike; absolutely out the question for running.
- It’s fun! I have done the London to Brighton bike ride twice,The London Skyride three times, cycled round the Isle Of Wight and Alderney with friends, and been on countless days out. You can cover long distances quickly, letting you really explore an area.
Now, let’s not mess around – I cannot wait to get back to running (I think tomorrow might be time to test the water), and I view running as a much more intense and pure exercise. Cycling might not be something I do for the sake of it, but it is a great method of transport, and ensures I have a base level of movement and exercise every day.