Here’s why you should cycle to work, as per Mayur Bathija, who has been riding regularly for the last couple of years in Bangalore…
Wondering whether you should cycle to work or not? Worried about how to do it? Mayur, who has been commuting regularly for the last couple of years, writes about how it is done.
He is passionate about cycling, and besides being an avid commuter, he also is an amateur racer and has participated in many cycle races. This 33-year-old from Mysore, has been working for quite a few years in Bangalore now and has a keen interest in comedy, cricket and music as well.
Having cycled to work around 8000 km in the last couple of years, Mayur’s race list is also strong. He has raced as an amateur in B.A.R (Bangalore Amateur Racing) ITT and BBCh (Bangalore Bicycle Championship) Nandi Epic and Individual Time Trial.
He also raced the Tour of Goa which was a memorable experience.
As Mayur says, “I enjoy every bit of time spent on the saddle, be it racing training or commuting. Of course the racing instincts do help in commuting faster.”
Thanks to Mayur for penning his thoughts about cycle to work for CyclingMonks…
Cycle to Work…
Recent events in our world has made us get back to many activities which were either forgotten or neglected.
People have started considering every activity seriously, which directs you to better health or immunity. As these two aspects are key in fighting the virus.
Some have rediscovered running, some floor exercises and some have taken up cycling.
In this article we focus on how cycling can be included in your life. Not only as a recreational sport, but also as a means of effective commuting, which in turn benefits the planet.
Commuting by bike is Eco-friendly and Pocket Friendly
In today’s world where metro cities are facing issues tackling pollution and space management to accommodate population growth, cycling can play a major part in keeping these two things in check. As the negative effect of cycling on the planet is Nil.
On the other hand, rising fuel costs and increased traffic in cities is resulting in a car or motorbike not being the most feasible and quickest option to reach from Point A to Point B.
Cycles due to their size and navigating capabilities are ideal to tackle the challenges. It also in turn benefits you hugely to reduce cost related to commuting and minimal maintenance charges.
Cycling helps you to see the World in a Different Way
The pace at which you cycle is apt to observe things around and also absorb the environment around without having to compromise a lot on time.
You will surely start to see many things around your residence or your workspace which you would not have explored before. Each ride guarantees a new discovery.
Commuting helps in Observation and Planning Skills
As most of your commutes are going to be on relatively busier roads and during peak hours; commuting by a bike greatly helps you in developing your observational skills. As you need to have a keen eye on the movements ahead and around you.
Also having to navigate your bike within traffic involves quick decision making which in turn helps you in your planning capabilities.
Cycle to work helps save time spent on other physical activities
In today’s world where 24 hours aren’t enough due to our increased activities. Having an extra hour is a bonus which we all look forward to.
By incorporating cycling in our day to day life we can get an extra hour a day. As the time spent exclusively for travel also doubles up as the time for a fitness activity.
Say Goodbye to relying on Public Transport and Cabs
Each of us would love to control things, don’t we? Each one of us would not want to rely on any service which is not being controlled by us.
By effectively planning your commute times and routes, you can ensure that you commute effectively without having to face the delays caused by reliance on public or shared transport.
Enhancing your Commute Experience
Now that we have spoken of the advantages of Commuting on a Bike let’s look at some of the Key Essentials which enhance your commuting experience:
- Buy a bike with which you are most comfortable in terms of riding position. This shall make your commutes pain free and stress free.
- Wear Clothing which is ideal for cycling. This ensures you have a comfortable ride. In case you do not have shower facility at your work place, consider carrying wet tissues for a soft sponge bath. Please Note: Commuting on a bike for short distances does not require separate pair of clothes. As your commute will be shorter and not result in a lot of sweat.
- Ensure you buy accessories that enhance your riding. Sunglasses, pannier racks, saddle bags, frame bags, locks and cycling jerseys with pockets, ensure you are geared up without any hassles.
Regular Bike Maintenance
This greatly helps you to consider cycling as a regular choice of commuting. Some key aspects to be checked in terms of bike maintenance are as follows:
- Having Optimum Pressure in your Tyres
- Checking Brakes Regularly
- Check if the wheel is rotating freely without hindrance
- Gearing and overall handling of the bike. Lubing the chain once every couple of hundred kilometres.
Another additional point would be to have an idea of Local Bike Shops in your surroundings or on your preferred cycling route.
So that in case you encounter a problem which cannot be fixed on the spot, you could always rely on the nearest local bike shop to have the problem fixed.
Ideal Commute Gear
- Hybrid Bikes are ideal for commutes. If you want to use a road bike for commutes make sure it has a relaxed geometry and wider tyres. No point riding an aggressive road bike in traffic. You know how disciplined the drivers or riders around us are!
- Flat Pedals are ideal for commuting as you can stop faster and safer with riders or drivers coming in your way. There are always races and weekends for power based riding.
- My Commute Bag includes a laptop, set of clothes, minimum repair and maintenance tools such as spare tube, portable pump and a set of tyre levers, patches and glue. It helps if you have aced the art of fixing punctures!
- Wearing basic jerseys with pockets and lighter shorts or pants help a lot. Apart from keeping the sweat at bay these can also be used to store essentials such as mobiles, energy bars and some cash. Make sure the gear has a zipper. So that it keeps your items safe and also you can sprint with peace of mind when the urge is uncontrollable!
- Always ensure your bike has a set of lights or reflectors especially if your riding in the dark or overcast conditions.
- You could also consider having reflective strips added on to your backpack, on the seat stays of bike or also on your helmet.
- Always plan your commute route with less signals. You can thank me later after you save time over a commute!
- Always be mindful of the traffic conditions. Resist the urge to outdo motorists. You can do the same as and when you get better with the bike.
- Always have an alternate route in mind if possible to avoid peak hour traffic. Our VIPs frequent the road, you know what I mean. Being aware of alternate route helps. A route discovered with lesser traffic can motivate you to get on the bike daily.
Why I chose to commute by Cycle to Work
Being an inhabitant of Bangalore, how to keep your nerves calm in traffic is one of the items on the wish list of many.
Cycling to work made me realise how I can utilise my time to commute to keep myself healthy and also save time.
In 2018 my office was relocated within Bangalore. My workplace which was earlier 12 km was then 17 km one way.
It would take me at least 45 minutes to 1 hour of commute in the morning by car or bike. In the evening rush hour a minimum of 1.5 hrs of commute time by car and 1.15 hours by scooter.
The stress through traffic was taking a toll on me and I decided to tackle this by cycling to work.
I was lucky that my new workplace also had shower and change room facilities.
On my first day I managed to reach my workplace under 45 minutes in the morning and under 1 hour in the evening.
This made the drive harder and I decided to commute to work 3 times a week by cycle.
Each trip of commuting to work would amount to around 36 km of cycling in a day. With my approach of cycling thrice a week to work I would pedal 108 km every week just by commuting. This is in addition to my training and leisure rides.
Also read our guide to Commuting Safely in India. Here’s a bunch of on the road repairs you should know when you get into cycling. Also, a few basic cycle accessories that will help making your advent into cycling easier.