This is a question many of you, your friends, family members, and coworkers have asked themselves but maybe never thought was for you. And that’s totally okay.
Many folks realize plenty of possible reasons why pedaling to work may not be in the cards for them. We will get into some of those here in a minute.
But first, we would like to congratulate you on taking that first step towards an active, healthy lifestyle. That mental step, where you realize how important that daily dose of physical activity is to improving happiness and health, whether you choose to join the bike commuting community or not, is a huge part of changing your life for the better.
Now here are some factors to consider when deciding whether or not biking to the office is right for you.
Where do you live?
As most city slickers will attest, there’s nothing worse than sitting in traffic or through hellish public transportation delays just to get to and from the office 5 days each week. As you know, cities are over populated due to immense job opportunities, but everyone seems to be commuting to these jobs the same way. So, you can either find a great new podcast and white-knuckle your morning bumper-to-bumper, or you can invest in a new bike that will excite you every time you settle into it. If you’re living in an urban environment and can handle the occasional bout with poor weather, bike commuting may be your best, and quickest option!
Summary: Urban environments are perfect for bike commuting because usually 1) Traffic is nuts, and 2) Commutes are generally shorter- sometimes than even a trip in your car!
Your Fitness Goals
While many bike commuters are doing so out of convenience because they live so close to where they work (jealous), many are doing so in part because of the substantial health benefits associated with biking. Biking to work will undoubtedly increase cardiovascular endurance and diminish stress. However, if biking to work to lose weight is your primary concern, you may be looking in the wrong place. No amount of exercise can outwork a poor diet. Commute biking alone can put you on the road (see what I did there?) to weight loss, but it’s certainly not the end all be all.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, those with already stringent workout routines may want to stray from biking to and from work. Depending on the length and severity of the ride, this practice can lead to lethargy, overeating, and fatigue at home and work. Make sure if you’re biking to and from work, it is because you actually want to.
Summary: Biking to work should be fun and rewarding. It shouldn’t feel like work. If you ever stop enjoying the ride, find another form of exercise that you enjoy and make time for it. Ensure if you are biking for weight loss you also implement a myriad of other lifestyle changes to help you accomplish your goals.
Can You Dedicate The Time?
Especially in heavy urban areas like Los Angeles and Manhattan, biking to work can actually shave commute times. However, the majority of biking commuters know full well they will have to dedicate extra time to it. Take a good look at the other responsibilities you have in your life. Young Children? You may need the flexibility a car provides. Is the after work emergency grocery store stop more common than it should be? It’s not going to be easy on a road bike.
Summary: Make sure your life is stable enough to allow for this set routine. The freedom that comes with driving to work is a huge plus for many would-be riders.
While most folks these days have showers in their home (if you don’t, you may want to look into it), it is easy to overlook the need for an area to freshen up at the office. You may think, “I don’t sweat very much,” or “I’ll just change my shirt when I get there,” but without a proper shower/towel service in or near your place of work, you could be left stewing in your own filth for 8 hours every day. Neither you nor your office mates would appreciate this very much.
Summary: Verify that your company offers amenities for bike commuters to shower and change near or in the office. Clean workers work harder!
Overall, biking to work can be a rewarding hobby for any commuter. Young and old, the daily ride has the potential to clear the head, improve conditioning, and allow you to enjoy the great outdoors. However, there are many factors to consider when deciding to ditch your car.
At Zero Gravity Racks, we are always looking for ways to spend more time outdoors. Our company was born out of a desire to organize all the toys and tools that allow us to adventure in our own backyard. So before you leave your house, or after your ride, remember to rack it up high, so you can organize your life on the ground.