As we were preparing for Bike Week last year, we found out (via a YouGov survey) that almost half of theUK’s working population live within five miles of work – a readily cycle-able distance. But with only 2% of all trips being made by bike, there are clearly still some challenges which are preventing people from making the switch to cycling. To try to help you overcome any obstacles you might have to jumping on to the saddle, here are three reasons why we think cycling to work is a great idea:
1. Cycling saves you money
Whether you drive, catch the bus or get on to a train, there are no two ways about it – getting yourself to work can really put a dent in your pocket. Cycling on the other hand can cost you next to nothing. Let’s take a fictitious journey to work – you live six miles away door-to-door, use the car and spend about £15 in fuel during your ‘normal working week’. The journey takes about 40 minutes because of traffic. You also own a bike and you know there’s a slightly shorter five-mile route that you could cycle to get into work in about 30 minutes. In this scenario, if you were to ditch the car and switch to cycling, over the course of a year you could save about £780 (or £65 a month), and would have shaved off about four days (or seven hours a month) in commuting time. If you’d like to work out your own personal cash and time savings if you make the switch to cycling, take a look at the cycle to work calculator.
2. Cycling burns calories while you commute
There aren’t many ways you can combine regular exercise with getting to work, but cycling is most definitely one of them. The question of how many calories you burn cycling is a little tricky to answer because it depends on your height and weight and the speed you are riding. The figures we’ve used here assume that you are burning an average of five calories per minute when riding a bike. For a more specific calculation you can use a cycling calorie calculator. We’ve also used the NHS Live Well Calorie Checker as our guide for the calorific value of the breakfast items mentioned below.
- You will need to pedal for just 30 minutes to burn off the 151 calories in a slice of wholemeal toast with 10g of butter (or 144 calories with white bread).
- It’s only a 37-minute ride to shift the 186 calories in a 50g bowl of cornflakes.
- 23 minutes is all that is needed in the saddle to cover the 115 calories you get from a 30g bowl of porridge.
- You’ll be cycling for 43 minutes to burn the equivalent of 216 calories for a 60g croissant.
- If you’re a bacon butty eater, it’s a 90-minute pedal to shift the 451 calories you’ve consumed.
Don’t forget, if you do feel you need to lose a few pounds, take heart – the heavier you are, the more energy is needed to cycle, so the more calories you will burn.
3. Cycling saves the planet
Cycling more is one of the easiest and cheapest ways for you to reduce your impact on climate change on a day-to-day basis. For example, a person making an average daily commute by car of four miles each way would save half a tonne of CO2 a year by switching to cycling! That’s 5% of the average UK carbon footprint. If we doubled cycle use from current levels by switching from driving to cycling, we would reduce Britain’s total greenhouse emissions by 0.6 million tonnes, which is about as much as swapping all air travel between London and Scotland to train travel instead! Cycling can also really help to reduce the harmful impacts of air pollution, especially in towns and cities. For more on how cycling cuts carbon, take a look at Cycling UK’s briefings on Climate Change and Air Quality.
You can see why over five million of us Brits already cycle three or more times a week. Why not take this year’s Bike Week as your chance to join us in the saddle?