Biking to work is no longer a thing of the past, but a reasonable means of daily transport to the workplace. Commuting to work every day can be hectic in cities with heavy traffic.
It can be tiresome sitting in the car, waiting for traffic to move along every day. You may just be tired of going to work on an overcrowded train or bus, and you want to try something new.
It is okay to try and figure out if cycling is a sustainable form of transport for you. The fact is cycling to work has a vast number of benefits.
You can use the ride to and from work as a form of exercise. You get to breathe fresh air, it releases endorphins, and cycling can save you money. However, the burning question is, what is a reasonable distance to bike to work?
There are a few factors that determine a reasonable distance for anyone to ride to work. In simple terms, the average bike commute distance to bike to work on a daily basis is 10 miles or less.
It is essential to know that 10 miles aren’t the ideal number for everyone. The number of miles you can ride sustainably may be higher or lower than the average.
The only way to find out is by actually cycling to work. It is recommendable for you to do your research and understand your capacity to ride.
On average, riding 10 miles take a person one hour. Therefore, if you are going for a long-distance, you need to ride faster or start early. Lets breakdown the aspects that you need to factor in before you start biking to work.
Factors that determine the distance you ride to work
As mentioned earlier, several factors determine the distance that you can bike to work sustainably. All the elements focus on getting you to work on time and safely back home without too much fatigue. Here are some of the things to consider.
The amount of time you have in the morning is essential when deciding what’s a reasonable distance to bike to work. You need to identify the amount of time you have to ride to work. Generally, it should be adequate for you to ride moderately without straining.
The time you set for going to the office should include time to change or clean up upon arrival to your workplace. You should also factor in time to make a smoothie, breakfast, or a snack to replenish when you arrive.
Make preparations for the following day in the evening, including packing your office outfit, refilling water, cleaning your bike, and laying out what to wear when riding.
You should be able to take the least time possible to leave the house and start your commute. Saving money can push you to ride to work.
A bike is cheaper than a car, and you can start with a secondhand bike, which is even less expensive than a new one. A bike doesn’t cost much to maintain or repair.
You can learn to do a daily check-up to ensure everything is in order as you prepare for the next day. You can opt for a bike in case you can’t afford daily fuel or fare, and walking isn’t an option.
When was the last time you rode a bike for fun? Do you have a regular fitness regime? Are you fit? Cycling is an exercise on its own, and it will require you to burn energy. People who exercise tend to have a higher endurance when cycling than beginners. A fairly fit person can bike 15-20 miles one way to work without staining. Athletes can easily do 20-30 miles effortlessly daily without getting tired. However, an unfit person will be out of breath after riding 5 miles one way. If you are a beginner, you need to train on cycling to build up endurance.
Cycling also has an impact on your body due to wear and tear. If you haven’t been on a bike for a while, expect some soreness for the first few days. Also, you can expect to feel fatigued starting from Thursday if you work 5-6 days a week. Your body may take a while to adjust to the new extra activity. Fit people can take up commuting by bike without experiencing side effects.
Topography and climate conditions
The topography of your route to work is a vital factor to consider when deciding to take up commuting by bike.
Riding five miles of hilly terrain is more laborious than riding five miles on flat ground. It is also more comfortable to ride five miles on the road compared to off-road.
Identify the topography of the route like hills, slopes, bike lanes, and the condition of the streets.
The climatic conditions are something else you need to know. For example, find out whether you ride towards the sun or are going against the wind.
Wind can provide a powerful resistance when you ride against it.
Else, you can have a smoother ride when you ride with the current of the wind. Understanding the surroundings of your route will help you determine the time it will take you to get to work.
The type of bike
Different bikes are built for various purposes. A single gear bike won’t provide high speeds when you ride to work.
Alternatively, a mountain bike will give high speeds, but it won’t be comfortable.
Road bikes are more suitable for daily commutes because they are built for reasonable speeds and comfort.
Hybrid bikes have multiple gears and slim tires for speed on the road. A road bike with an upright handle that is higher than the seat is comfortable compared to other bikes.
An upright handlebar will allow you to sit in an upright position during a commute and lessen your fatigue.
Additionally, your bike should have the right size, comfortable saddle. Riding on a bike for 30 minutes or more can get uncomfortable on a small seat.
At the core of it, cycling is a form of exercise. Sweating is a natural by-product of engaging your muscles when riding a bike. Commuters who have shorter duration like three miles can avoid sweating by riding in moderation. But, any distance above five miles and your body will produce sweat. You need to be ready to clean up when you arrive at work when you ride for long distances. If you sweat more than the average person, it is best to ride for a few short miles only.
A good reason
Everything is about motivation, and commuting to work via bike needs a certain level of commitment.
Your reason for biking to work may be to work out, save money, keep the environment cleaner, avoid traffic jams, or simply avoid stuffy trains.
Whatever the reason, it must be something you strongly believe in to take up biking.
It should be a reason the gives you the will to wake up every morning and get on your bicycle.
Don’t do it because it seems cool or because it is trending. Do it for something that has a great meaning to you, and you won’t find yourself hating your commute to work.
You have to rest each night appropriately, clean the bike, check the tire pressure, wake up early, plan your route, and choose a playlist for the trip.
Without adequate motivation, you will likely not prepare adequately for the day ahead and find yourself using another form of transport.
Most people opt to bike to work because it is cheap, you exercise, and you can travel on your schedule. Commuters who use the train have to go with the timing of the train.
Going to work by car is trickier because traffic jams can add ten to twenty minutes to your commute on a typical day. In case of an accident, roadblock, or traffic diversion, you can stay in traffic longer than expected.
Where to start
You can do a trail commute to work to see if you can hack it. You don’t need to buy a bike while you can rent one. Visit the nearest bike shop and request the attendant to assist you in choosing a comfortable bike. Start from home wearing what you would to when riding to work.
You can select a sports outfit and change or just wear regular clothes. You can use your phone’s GPS to help you map out your route to work. Take note of your start time and ride to work then note down your arrival time. A trial commute will give you facts about your route, time, and generally how the commute feels like.
If you are comfortable with the trial commute, you can attempt riding to work for a week. A week will help you realize whether you can handle the fatigue that comes with cycling. After your first week, you can ride consistently for a month to create a habit. When cycling to and from work is a habit, it will fit into your schedule effortlessly.
Once you get the hang of riding to work daily, it’s time to invest in a bike. You can get an excellent commuter bike for $200-$300, but it won’t be anything fancy. The budget allows you to get a reliable bike without spending too much. Ensure you buy a bike that is easy to tune and maintain. You can look for a cycling partner or group in your neighborhood and travel together for the commute. Having companions can make the daily commute feel shorter.
How to train for bike commutes
For people who are not cyclists may take a while to get used to cycling to work daily. It is essential that you pace yourself for the start so that you don’t give up.
Don’t try to do everything at once. Train your body slowly to handle the work and energy required to for your commute. You can start by borrowing a bike from a friend to practicing riding an equal amount with the distance to work. Take a trip to your workplace as part of your practice and learn new routes during the weekend.
You can commute one-day using public transport to reduce fatigue and rest in between the week. Beginners can start with one or two days a week and then work your way up to the whole week.
You can choose to prep your week’s outfits on the weekend and carry them on the first day of the week to work. Preparing your outfits for the week reduces the preparations you do during the day.
You can then carry all your dirty laundry at the end of the week and do laundry in bulk. You also reduce the luggage you carry to and from work.
Cycling to work is possible and doable. City dwellers who cycle to work stand to spend less time than commuters using cars. The reasonable distance for most commuters is below ten miles one way, but it’s possible to go for 15 miles.
People who live five miles or less from work can benefit from commuting to work on bikes. You can enjoy the triumph of knowing you have put in your day’s exercise as part of your daily routine. It may take a while to get used to the commute if you are riding for more than five miles.
Once you’re comfortable with biking to work, you can work on reducing the time you use for your commute.
You can find a more effective route or learn to ride faster due to practice. Remember to keep things interesting by taking the scenic route or changing your playlist now and then so that you don’t get bored and stop.
So what is a reasonable distance to bike to work? One to ten miles is a fair distance for a person of average distance fitness. However, if you have the time and energy, you can do twenty or thirty miles. In the end, choose the range you are comfortable with doing.