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Please motivate me to cycle to work!

(35 Posts)
Rosarosae Wed 17-Sep-14 22:23:04

I really want to do this, the problem is, I don't even have a bike. There is this fab scheme at work whereby you can borrow a bike and gear for one month and I have signed up for it. I get my bike in early October (yay!), but

Rosarosae Wed 17-Sep-14 22:25:56

Sorry, posted too early in my excitement! Anyway, I meant to say that I'm obviously not that fit or even young, but I really want to take up exercise and I know cycling could be for me. I just hate, hate, hate going to the gym as it feels like artificial sport, somehow, whereas cycling serves a purpose - transportation.

What are your best tips for a novice like me? What do I need to watch out for? How do I keep myself motivated? The commute to work should take me about half an hour on the bike, by the way.

RhinestoneCowgirl Wed 17-Sep-14 22:30:55

How exciting about the new bike!

I started cycling again last year when I went back to work and now I cycle all over my city, not just for getting to work.

It took me a while to work out best route to work, but now I have a good route that cuts out main roads and nasty junctions. I do have a hi-vis jacket and helmet, but not everyone does.

I felt so unfit when I started (and where I live has plenty of hills) but even quite a short ride every day has made a difference, and my thighs are in much better shape now!

Ilovenicesoap Wed 17-Sep-14 22:31:43

Your skin will glow
You will save money
You get exercise and fresh air -no gym fees
My bum and legs are really toned ,belly GONE grin
Be careful-cycle defensively and dont wear headphones

Get comfy cycling gear -i wear running tights,vest, and trainers.reflective jacket
Shower at work,keep kit there-deodorant ,make up etc

LadyMud Wed 17-Sep-14 22:33:43

Does the scheme provide any training? Bikeability training is very worthwhile, and may be free in your area. They'll even rehearse your route to work with you.

Also, a Bike Buddy to ride in with would be useful. Is there a Bike Users Group at work?

rempy Wed 17-Sep-14 22:35:46

So! The things that get in your way of commuting are tedious practical ones usually. Before you get going, sort out if you can shower at work, change, leave soggy cycling gear, lock bike safely, and deal with things like lights and locks and helmet when you pick up the bike.

Check out the route - if you are a non-cyclist, you may choose a "road" route, not realising there are bike only short cuts, quiet parallel roads, or particularly hazardous "cycle" lanes that need avoiding.

We have alongside our bike to work scheme, a monthly bike clinic, where they'll maintain your bike. Look about too for the small independent bike dealer/fixers. They are often fabulous, and cheap for maintenance.

Finally, keep an eye out and see if there are any "cycle training" courses, again, usually free (sustrans may have collated info) to train you in safe riding in traffic.

And then get on it!! Start one day a week, or cycle one way and get the bus the other, and vice versa the next day.

And you must get back on if you fall off.

Nevertriedapickledegg Wed 17-Sep-14 22:43:24

You will have amazing legs and bum in no time! Whole body will take a bit longer but overall fitness and physique will improve immensely!

You will no longer be a slave to traffic - if your commute takes 30 mins, it takes 30 mins no matter what since you're never queueing behind a broken down car or whatever.

Tips - keep a spare change of clothes at work for the time you WILL forget to pack it grin

You will save a fortune in petrol and as your confidence grows you'll find yourself venturing out more and more on the bike. If you want tips on how to cycle in traffic look up your local cycling groups or bikability and go out with an instructor a few time.

Enjoy!!! Keep us posted!

DancingDinosaur Wed 17-Sep-14 22:49:16

Oh its so much fun. You see so much more than you would in a car. And you'll get fit. Cycling is a low impact sport so great for people with aches and pains. I only started cycling early this year. (I'm not young). Took it slowly at first and became more and more addicted to it. Swapped my bike in for a better one about 4 months back, and just completed my first 100k bike ride. This time last year I had no idea I could do something like that. I was a real couch potato. Enjoy your cycling, its great.

Rosarosae Wed 17-Sep-14 23:09:07

Wow, that's an amazing response! I'm particularly encouraged by those of you who took up cycling late in life. I'm 42 and slim, but get out of breath and have a fast heartbeat after the slightest exertion. That's no doubt due to lack of sport.

So, you think that your disposition to exercise can change, long term, at this stage in life? Going from being a couch potato to cycling 100km, like the last poster said, sounds just unbelievable and an inspiration. thanks

BuggersMuddle Wed 17-Sep-14 23:13:59

You'll find out fairly quickly if it's for you, but my tips would be:

You're far more likely to cycle if it's comfortable. Make sure you have a decent saddle and your bike is properly adjusted. Beyond that, I am a great believer in padded shorts with no knickers underneath Your bum will most likely hurt at first regardless but this improves quickly, so I wouldn't be too gung-ho about going from no days a week to daily - set yourself a target and build up.

Speaking of comfort and assuming you are also in the UK, a waterproof jacket is a handy piece of kit to carry. I don't personally wear a hi-vis, but that's because all my cycling kit is obnoxiously bright grin

If you work 9-5, maybe try your route on a quiet afternoon to build confidence - especially if it's mostly on road.

Alongside cycle training, learning a wee bit of basic maintenance can be useful.

If you can't keep much kit at work, pack towels are wonderful for packing light. If you can, I second keeping clothes into the office having (a) chaired a steering committee full of consultant in a pair of cycling longs and a sweaty sports top and (b) ran to the nearest shop to pick up whatever I could one day when it was the MD in attendance and longs were likely to be frowned upon... grin blush

BuggersMuddle Wed 17-Sep-14 23:22:33

Rosaroe Oh I would say it's possible. I cycled (commute only) for a few years, then gave up due to a combination of ill health and distance. I started back (half-heartedly) commuting late last year, started upping the distance in January, did my first 100k in April and have now ordered a bike where I blush and mutter when people ask how much it cost. grin

I am 33, so a little younger but not slim.

For the distance stuff, I would probably have done it sooner if I knew anyone else who was up for it. Sadly DP never learned to cycle...until last winter. He joined me on the 100k btw and is now faster than me annoyingly, at least until I get my new shiny bike, oh yes

DancingDinosaur Wed 17-Sep-14 23:22:34

Yes, I can't believe I have achieved that myself. I'm super proud of myself when I tell people and their mouths drop open. Because 100k just sounds massive. And it was, but not as dreadful as I would have thought it would be before I did it, iyswim. I started off very slowly, 3 miles a day, went up to 9 miles one day and was proud of doing that at the time and decided to try and take it further. So then got a cycling buddy, started doing 15 miles, 20 miles and so on and upwards. Long and short rides every week with rest days. Get yourself an app like cycle meter or strava, as it saves your routes, tells you how many miles you did, and how many calories burnt. That is inspiration in itself, but, if you start getting into it and you haven't got a cycle buddy, then I would join a cycling club. Mine starts with shorter routes of 15 miles once you're up to that level. (It doesn't take long to get to that stage). And then as you get fitter you can join the longer distance groups. A decent bike helps a lot. But cycling longer distance is much easier with other people than on your own, safety, and the time passes more easily with someone to chat to. I'm a 45 yr old asthmatic, although I rarely use my inhalers these days.

catsofa Wed 17-Sep-14 23:30:06

Cycling is absolutely brilliant. Key to success IME is to do it every day, even if only a little bit - that way you build up the specific muscles you need very quickly. Everyone I know who has done this has hit a stage at about two weeks where they suddenly notice they're loads fitter and can get up hills they never thought they'd manage and basically something just "clicks" and they are a cyclist. You will love it - the best bit about cycling is simply that it feels like flying, and who else gets to fly to work every day? smile

DancingDinosaur Wed 17-Sep-14 23:34:32

It does, thats exactly right, it feels like flying.

catsofa Thu 18-Sep-14 00:37:29

It is astonishing how far you can ride once you get going. I'm not super fit or anything, I just use my bike to get to work, supermarkets, wherever I'm going. But in the summer I go on holiday on the bike and can easily do 40 miles in a day without it even feeling like a particularly intensive cycling day. Plus you can carry absolutely tonnes of stuff in comfort, as long as it's attached to the bike (in panniers) not to yourself (e.g. in a rucksack). You'll have wonderful holidays next summer if you start cycling now!

TheFarSide Thu 18-Sep-14 00:48:20

I started cycling into work at the age of 52 and have experienced moments of pure happiness whizzing along the streets with the wind in my hair.

I also joined a local "family bike club" - all ages and fitness levels. Once a month they go on a 15 mile ride around local cycle paths and it's great for building up confidence and just having fun with a group of like-minded people.

bellabelly Thu 18-Sep-14 01:31:51

A few years back, I started cycling to work in central London instead of driving. 15 mins each way. I lost half a stone in a fortnight! No dieting involved.

Sadly, we have since moved (to a v hilly town - rubbish for cycling) and I haven't used my bike for FAR too long. In London, I loved the sense of freedom it gave me - no more expensive parking tickets and loads of cool routes to try out.

MsInterpret Thu 18-Sep-14 06:50:43

Agree with all that's been said above! Cycling is great.

Cyclestreets is a great website (and slightly less great app) that will work out routes for you. You can ask for fastest, quietest etc and put in your rough speed so you get an accurate journey time.

RudyMentary Thu 18-Sep-14 07:03:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wellwellwell3holesintheground Thu 18-Sep-14 07:23:29

Cyclestreets is brilliant. Remember it's fine to get off and push at busy junctions. I'm just about to start cycling to work again after 3 years off. Can't wait!

My favourite bits are the endorphin high that means you work much more effectively, the winding down while cycling slowly home and the fact that every journey takes the same length of time.

Ilovenicesoap Thu 18-Sep-14 21:47:05

I am ancient wink and fitter than most of my colleagues half my age.

I loveit,its so good for my mood and luckily my route is mainly cycle paths.
I see deer,hares,rabbits,birds and a pheasant flew past me this morning.
Its the best thing i ever did and I bounce into work smile

Rosarosae Fri 19-Sep-14 11:43:03

Thank you again for all your wonderful messages. I really feel like this is the right thing for me and I so hope I will like it! Just one question: do you really need to cycle in working gear? I was hoping to wear jeans or trousers (with clips on). I could shower at work, but it would be very time consuming as the showers are in a different building - plus carrying towels and so on sounds too faffy.

catsofa Fri 19-Sep-14 12:44:23

If there are no big hills and you take it easy then there is no reason you can't arrive at work in a reasonable state to work in the clothes you cycle in. In the rain of course you will get wet so may need a change of trousers. In hot weather or if you have to go up big hills then you might get a bit sweaty.

What job do you do/what clothes do you need to work in? I've adapted my whole wardrobe around what I can cycle in and almost always cycle in "normal" clothes rather than sports stuff, so may be able to give some suggestions. I have a pair of smart long leather boots which are heaven to cycle in!

Wellwellwell3holesintheground Fri 19-Sep-14 12:51:07

I always sweat so much when I cycle I have been forced to change completely. Including underwear. But I wear really lightweight stuff lfor cycling and take a towel/wipes/deodorant and a full change of clothes. In the winter I can get away with just changing top half.

Tangchi Fri 19-Sep-14 13:00:13

I started cycling to work 4 months ago. I love it. I love knowing I won't get stuck in traffic. My tip is to be organised, bag packed night before, lights charged, lunch ready to go. I shower night before and then just have a quick shower when I get to work. Make my towel last week and hang it in cycle facility at work. Shower bag at work. I have bought panniers now as found back pack gave me back ache but my cycle is a hilly 13 miles each way so you might not need this

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