Riding to and from work is an efficient way to boost your weekly mileage and with the state of rush hour roads, it’s often quicker than taking the tin can and better for the environment, too. So we’re agreed: on the whole, cycle commuting is excellent. However, it takes a little organisation, a little patience, and sometimes there are set backs.
Here’s a look at some of the struggles that we reckon most commuters will have come across at some point…
Struggle One: The battle with dark mornings is real
Getting up in the morning is hard enough for most people - add in that over winter you're very often relying on artificial light sources to see where you're going and it's a whole lot worse.
The good news is that this does mean you get to see the sunrise - and it is beautiful. If you feel you're struggling to get up because you didn't get the shut-eye you needed, check out these eight foods to help you sleep.
Struggle Two: Knickers and Bras don’t pack themselves
Seriously - you've got piles and piles of underwear - it can disorganise itself in your draws the day after you sorted it, socks can separate themselves from their pairs when you're not looking - but can they pack themselves into your backpack? No.
Struggle Three: Non-mobile and/or blue feet
It doesn't matter how thermal our overshoes are, or how waterproof - sometimes our feet just get cold and we end up numb-footing it round the office for an hour or so every morning. The good news is we can help you to prevent this - check out these tips.
Struggle Four: There isn’t enough food in the world
That morning bowl of porridge you had when you got into work just doesn't seem to hit the spot, and you spend most of the morning looking forward to lunch. Commuter cyclists burn a lot of extra calories on the way to and from work and sometimes it's hard to replace them quick enough so that it doesn't impact your work. Check out these tips for curbing commuter hunger for some help.
Struggle Five: Lights are not as full of energy as their owners
You ride in, you ride home, you ride in, you ride home.... but can your lights keep up with you?! No. They constantly need re-charging, and it's a real pain when you realise at 5pm that you're going to need to plug in for a good hour before you've got enough juice to get home.
You can fix this struggle by leaving a charger at work, and a LARGE reminder sign somewhere you'll see it - such as in the fridge on your lunch box or on your computer monitor...
Struggle Six: The irony of angry drivers
The frustrating thing is sometimes drivers get angry and upset that we're slowing their journey down by 20 seconds whilst they wait to overtake - yet if they bully us into our cars we'd take up much more space and contribute to traffic jams. Every time a driver shouts at us, overtakes too close, or sprays windscreen wash in our direction, we wish we could explain this. Unfortunately, it's rarely possible - so we just have to carry on and stay confident in our road positioning and right to use the road.
Struggle Seven: Hairdryers aren’t always standard
Lots of work places these days have hairdryers for their staff - but that's not the case everywhere, and some of them fit dryers that seem to imitate the air blowing efforts of a small asthmatic mouse. Since unmanageable hair was listed by a recent survey as being one of the major factors putting women of cycling, we reckon this needs to be fixed if employers want healthier, happier colleagues.
Struggle Eight: Neither are showers
One step worse than no hairdryer is of course no shower - or only one shower between ten cyclists all arriving at the same time. Fear not - however - we've got a guide on getting squeaky clean without running water!
Struggle Nine: Skin is waterproof but all backpacks aren’t
The saying 'skin is waterproof' is entirely valid - getting wet and cold might lower your immune system, but provided there's no virus' actually active in your system it's not bad for you. However, the drip-drip-drip of winter weather and summer showers is bad for your clothes that are usually packed away in a backpack.
Thankfully - there ARE some waterproof backpacks - you just need to make sure you've got one.
Struggle Ten: Keeping the insanely wide grin from our faces all day
We had to end on a positive note. All of the struggles above are things we can totally overcome, but the joy of seeing the sun rise, that rush of endorphin, and pedaling away the stress of the day is absolutely irreplaceable. We just have to try not to annoy our colleagues too much by beaming like a Cheshire cat all day...
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