When you first start riding to work it’s a revelation that you can exercise at a time of the day when you were previously sitting in the car or on the bus.
But if you really catch the cycling bug and start training for races and events, soon that commute becomes its own frustration. Is the journey to work really long enough to be a worthwhile contributor to your training plan? Especially if you do a city commute, it can feel too meagre for any meaningful leg-stretching. But during the winter months, we want to make the most of any time we spend outside.
Ruth Eyles doesn’t think frustrated commuters need to worry. She won 11 different National Championship medals in her cycling career until 2009. Now she’s a personal cycling coach and does cycle fitness seminars.
“I barely think there is a minimum distance that can be useful when it comes to using your commute for training,” says Ruth. “Even if it’s only a mile, I would say it’s worth doing. For example, I used to commute three miles a day when I lived in London, and I think that was the foundation for me doing a London to John O’Groats ride.
“You only have to put ten or fifteen minutes of effort in for it to be worth doing, without a doubt.”