Most people who commute by bike have woken up one morning and thought ‘I just don’t fancy it’. As much as we love cycling, sometimes our legs are just tired, the rain is hammering down on the roof and we don’t feel like pedalling out those extra miles.
Of course, there are many ways to motivate yourself to ride – but one of them is reminding yourself exactly how unappetizing the alternatives are…
If your journey is just a couple of miles, the idea of strapping on a quality backpack and hot-footing it to work sounds excellent. Until you realise that your quality backpack still brushes your neck repeatedly, resulting in a graze that makes your colleagues think you’re entangled in a teenage-style romance. Oh, and you have to choose between a change of shoes and a notebook, or your lunch because it doesn't all fit in.
Add to that the fact that pavements are absolutely rammed in most city centres, and this is basically only a good idea if you live somewhere rural, and have resilient skin.
Commuting by Car
Yes, most cyclists have cars and do drive. But driving in rush hour very often consists of extended periods of sitting behind other cars, sucking in exhaust fumes and watching as happy cyclists glide past.
Within the queue, there are plenty of unsavoury fellow drivers to contend with. The tailgater, who thinks the lights will change quicker if they sit millimetres from your bumper, and the seeming claustrophobic who prefers to leave half a mile of empty road between themselves and the next car.
Hopefully, your office has a car park. If not, good luck finding somewhere free to leave your hulking lump of metal frustration until the end of the day.
Commuting by Train
We’re sorry to announce that the
If the train actually arrives, it’s likely to be too packed to get a seat. If it’s not too packed to get a seat, you’re likely to end up next to someone disagreeable, or in such close quarters that you find yourself worrying that anything you do might cause the new neighbour inconvenience. Or, worse still, give them a reason to talk to you.
Add in the less-than-sweet waft coming from the adjacent shoulder and the fact that someone always has a cold, and it’s just not a great experience all round.
Commuting by Bus
A lot like the train, but with added chewing gum on the seats and occasional fear for your life if you happen to get a driver with a penchant for a speed and a relaxed attitude towards the highway code. [Disclaimer: this is a small percentage of drivers and is a trait that can be found in all sorts of vehicle operators].
Seen frequently gliding along London Bridge Walk, scooter-commuters gracefully dance along the pavement, avoiding eye contact with other human beings and trying to pretend their chosen method is, like, totally normal.
Yes, it’s faster than walking. No, it’s not faster than cycling. Yes, it looks a little bit silly, and only allows for one leg to be involved in The Exercise at a time. Roll on one-legged fitness, or perhaps not.
A little bit like scooter-commuting, but if we’re honest a little bit more dangerous for everybody else in the vicinity. Rollerblading requires a fair amount of available space, as each leg needs to shoot out sideways to propel the user forwards.
I’ll make an exception for the dude who used to rollerblade around the cycle lanes between Brighton City Centre and Sussex University, daily, some years ago. If anyone sees him, give him a smile, he kept me amused for a good three years – even in the snow.
Swimming to Work
Yes, you read that right. There is a very small minority of people, generally living on the coast, who can swim to work. This comes with a few limiting factors – namely that your work and home need to be linked by an expanse of water, you can’t carry a great deal to work, and you’ll need some good neoprene and a thick skin come winter.
So – you see, next time you wake up and just don’t fancy riding to work, remember that these are the alternatives and get on your bike!
If you struggle with the commute, check out these top ten tips, and remember that arriving by bike makes you feel more energised and ready for the day.