Five reasons why more of us will be cycling to work after lockdown
Office life is not redundant, but the traditional commute is. Here are five reasons why a cycling Amsterdam style ethos is set to become the norm in the UK with more of us cycling to work.
Lockdown sparked an Electric Bike phenomenon across the UK. The UK’s top electric bike retailer E-Bikes Direct experienced a 400% growth in lockdown one alone.
12 months later, demand continues to outweigh supply across the globe, signalling that cycling is set to become a permanent lifestyle shift thanks to the pandemic. Here are five reasons why more of us will be cycling to work from now on.
1) We’re dreading a return to the long commute
The novelty of working from home is wearing thin for most people, and many of us are looking forward to socialising in the office and reclaiming our personal living spaces again.
However, working from home has highlighted just how much time we spend commuting, with studies revealing an average of 1hr 38mins a day. So it’s no surprise that many people are looking for ways to avoid a return to the long commute.
For some this has meant moving home, and for others it’s prompted them to change job for one that offers them a better lifestyle – often within an easy commute of their home. And for lots of people, that commute will be by bike: Google trend data reveals that the search term cycling to work has received a 305.56% within the last month alone.
2) Cycling to work can save you money
For those fortunate enough to work from home throughout lockdown, the lack of commute meant that they no longer need to budget for travelcards or general journeys. As a result, the average worker within the UK saved an average of £126 a month.
Over the course of the working from home movement, an average of £1, 764 has been saved. It is no surprise that the UK’s workforce is keen to continue saving their money on commuting, making cycling an appealing onetime investment option.
3) Cycling can boost your immune system and lung health
Cycling can significantly boost your immune system. Your body’s Thymus builds immune cells called T-cells, which begin to shrink from the age of 20. However, research shows that the thymuses of mature cyclists produce just as many T-cells as that of the younger generation.
The physical health benefits of cycling also extend to your lung health. As your body strives to carry oxygen around the body to deliver energy and remove carbon dioxide, your lungs work in overdrive when cycling. Cycling improves lung capacity, which signals how efficiently the organ can extract oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from your bloodstream. Cycling is said to improve lung capacity by 5-15%.
4) Cycling boosts mental wellbeing
Cycling doesn’t just help your physical health – it can make you feel better too. That’s because the activity of cycling supresses the stress hormone, cortisol whilst releasing the feel-good hormones endorphins.
As you exercise, oxygen is increased to the brain, working to ease anxiety. Dopamine is released, making cycling somewhat addictive as the brain craves more of the action. What’s more, cycling regularly produces neurons that improve memory, cognitive function, and our ability to learn new things.
5) Cycling helps us escape the stresses of life
Modern day life sees that we are ‘on call’, 24/7. Whether its WhatsApp, text, call, zoom or DM, we rarely get a moment to reflect. Partaking in a solo exercise where you are unable to use a digital device is often the biggest attraction and benefit to cycling.
Not only does cycling gives us a break from the omnipresent demands of technological alerts, but it also gives us precious time to reflect, and even mental breathing space, which is great for creativity.
Plus, with no public transport delays, it’s much easier to accurately predict how long your commute will take – reducing the stress of sitting on a stationary train or bus, wondering when it will move (and whether or not you’ll miss your meeting) with no power to change the outcome.
And finally, cycling to work helps tick the box of getting exercise (the NHS guidelines state that we should all partake in a physical activity that raises the heartbeat for 30 minutes, five times a week) which gives you more time to spend on other activities you may enjoy.
Stay safe while cycling to work
As enjoyable as cycling to work can be, it’s important that you take precautions to ensure you stay safe. Here are some quick tips to stay safe when riding to and from work:
- Before setting off, familiarise yourself with the highway code and bus lanes in your area.
- Never ride with headphone on.
- Never use your phone while riding.
- Keep your bike well-maintained.
- Ensure you are clearly visible and wear a helmet.
Photo by Murillo de Paula