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Cycle to work

Cycle to work and you’ll join an exclusive club: those who appreciate just how fantastic it can be! Rutland Cycling, on Ham Lane, has some tips to help you get the best out of your commuting

There are many benefits to cycling to work. It’s cheaper than driving, is good for the environment and your health, and can make you feel happier, contributing to a more productive day. Yet despite all this, just 4% of commuting trips are made by bicycle. Warmer weather makes this an ideal time of year to start.

What bike?
The type of bike you use will depend on how far your commute is, the type of terrain you will be riding on and how quickly you want to get there. For most of us, commuting by bike will involve riding on tarmac, but you might also prefer an off-road route that avoids the traffic altogether. For the majority of commuters a hybrid or road bike will be best, but if you do want to go off the beaten track a cyclocross or a hardtail mountain bike would be a wise choice. If you need to use public transport, a folding bike makes the journey between the station and the office that bit quicker. Folding bikes, such as Bromptons, are specifically designed with this in mind. The smaller wheels make for a compact unit once the bike is folded up, so getting on and off public transport is easy. An electric bike is another great way to commute. Not only will you get there quicker, but the pedal-assist motor means you will expend less energy and arrive dry, comfortable and ready for the day. Running an e-bike can save a lot of money compared to driving.

Clothing and accessories
Short commutes can be made in your office clothes – perhaps with a fluorescent jacket over the top – while longer rides might require some cyclingfocused garments. Regardless, a helmet is a must and some are designed with commuting in mind. It’s worth leaving some spare clothes at work or taking some with you just in case. A good tip is to leave your weekly work clothing in the office so you always know you have a clean, dry outfit to change into on arrival. For those looking to commute year-round, it’s essential to have a good set of lights. They’re a legal requirement when it’s dark and will keep you visible and safe. USB chargeable lights are ideal for commuting as you can replenish the battery at your desk during the day. Avoid arriving late by taking a puncture repair kit, a multi-tool and a pump with you on your commute. These items should cover any occasional incident where you need to fix a puncture or adjust any loose parts. Finally, a good lock is essential. Some offices have secure bike parking and it’s always worth lobbying for some if yours hasn’t. In either case, a solid U-Lock, plus a cable wrapped around both wheels, the frame and ideally a fixed post, is hard to break into.

Arriving at work
No-one wants to arrive to work flustered or sweaty, and there are steps you can take to avoid this. Make the most of your office showers if they are provided and campaign for some to be installed if there aren’t any. Alternatively, don’t ride as hard on the way to work and always have a clean set of clothes to change into on arrival. Some brands like Muc-Off even include dry-shower products that are surprisingly effective at freshening you up. Whatever the case, just be prepared and focus on enjoying your commute. Remember to do this and you will be a seasoned commutercyclist in no time.

Cycle to Work scheme
The Government’s Cycle to Work scheme is a tax break that can save you up to 42% on the cost of a new bike. Up to £1,000 worth of cycling equipment can be deducted through your salary as a noncash benefit, meaning you don’t contribute any tax or national insurance. There’s also a new scheme aimed at electric bikes and Bromptons, without the £1,000 limit. Learn more at: www.rutlandcycling. com/cycletowork

Rutland Cycling Ham Lane, Orton Meadows, Peterborough PE2 5UU. 01733 371013, www.rutlandcycling.com

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