Hints & Tips

Busted: 5 Top Reasons for Not Cycling to Work

Only nine percent of UK residents cycle to work - we look at the reasons why and help to solve them

Today is National Cycle to Work day – and we know we’re probably preaching to the converted when we say that taking a bike to work is the best way to go. However, if you’re reading and nodding then you’re in the minority: a recent survey carried out by Ribble Cycles showed that just 9 per cent of working Brits use their bikes to commute.

The YouGov pole surveyed over 1000 workers about their attitudes to cycling, and what put them off. It transpired that over half of those questioned were worried about having an accident, and British weather had an effect too.

The lowest rate of cycling was found between the ages of 18 and 24 years-old, where only two per cent cycled – and the survey found that on the whole men were twice as likely to ride (13 per cent vs 5 per cent).

Of course, these aren’t the numbers we want to read – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Matthew Lawson, Chief Marketing Officer at Ribble Cycles said: “There are many schemes out there aimed at helping people build their cycling confidence, and with the introduction of more cycling lanes and cycling superhighways within our key cities, hopefully this will make cycling a more accessible commuter option, helping to dramatically reduce city pollution and congestion.”

Here’s a look at the top five reasons people gave for NOT cycling to work, and how to overcome them…

Live too far away to cycle (42%)

Perhaps you live 50 miles away from your workplace. We would never tell a beginner cyclist to kick off their riding career with a 100 mile daily round trip, so we understand your concern.

However, you don’t have to ride all the way to and from work to enjoy the cash saving, endorphin boosting benefits.

The easiest option if you want to cut down the length of your commute is to take the train half way there, using a folding bike if you travel into London. And honestly, there are some great folding bikes out there – and if you get your handlebar set up and gearing right they’re awesome to ride.

Alternatively, you can choose to drive half way, with your bike in the back, riding from a convenient spot along your route. Or, you can set yourself up with an alternating pattern: drive in Monday morning, cycle home Monday evening, cycle in Tuesday morning, drive home Tuesday evening: halving the distance you need to travel by bike.

The other option could be checking out the growing number of electric bikes on the market. Most are pedal assisted, so though the hills will be considerably easier you’re still getting a good workout.

Worried about having an accident (26%)

We hear some awful stories around accidents taking place whilst cycling – and we hate to hear them as much as anyone. However, it’s important to remember that thousands of journeys happen daily where no one is hurt – it’s often reported that pedestrians actually suffer more accidents per journey than cyclists. Most recent numbers tell us that 115 people are killed a year cycling – which means that for every fatality, a person could cycle a thousand times around the planet.

This said, anything you can do to make yourself safer is of course a good idea.

Firstly, making sure that your bike is fit and road worthy is essential – you don’t want to be coming to an unwanted stop, or worse: failing to come to a stop.

It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re familiar with the highway code, and what it means to cyclists – riding in the centre of the lane at junctions and narrow streets, and leaving distance when passing car doors. If you’re still nervous, it may well be a good idea to check out local cycle training courses – these can work wonders for your confidence.

Not confident enough cyclist (25%)

No one is born a confident cyclist – confidence takes practice. Work your way up gradually –  start by practicing your commute on a weekend in a non-pressured environment, ride with a buddy, or just ride half the journey until you start to feel happier with the distance

When it comes to confidence around other road users – the number one rule is to know that you have every right to use the road. Don’t feel you need to ride in the gutter, take a prominent position in the lane and keep your head up high.

Weather conditions (20%)

Ah – the great British Weather. Sure, this one is made a lot easier if you work in an office where there are showers, hairdryers and the like. However, if that’s not the case – wet wipes and dry shampoo are due to become your best buddies! Sure, you might have to tie your hair up whilst it dries – but a happy post-commute beam beats straightened hair any day in our book.

If you’re worried about riding in the rain and wind, then there’s no need to be: a few simple changes to your riding style are all that’s needed.

Too many items to carry (19%)

Not to worry! This is a problem that many commuting cyclists are aware of – which is why so many of them have branched off and created their own brands, making neat backpacks, panniers and handlebar bags.

10 of the Prettiest Pannier Bags for Your Bicycle

The Debate: Backpacks Vs. Panniers

6 Smart & Stylish Waterproof Cycling Backpacks

The most convenient option is probably a backpack –  this requires no change to your bike. However, if you have lots of kit, then panniers might be your best bet since they distribute weight evenly and not across your shoulders.

If you’ve still got questions – we’ve got a wealth on info to help you out – check out the commuting section on our site, and lets get this journey started!

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