Cycling to work: a beginner’s perspective

Th9781900322126=cycling-to-work=ep-1-6=cover=bureau=20130912e 14th to 22nd June is Bike Week in the UK. As an environmental publisher we care a great deal about the environment, and this shows is the attitudes of the staff, especially when it comes to travelling to work: almost all of the Green Books team cycle to work.

As the newest member of the team, I am currently letting the side down as I am the only one who drives in. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to leave the car at home and, up until now, this has been the case for me. This is about to change, however, as I am about to move close enough that my commute will involve a 15 minute cycle. As you can imagine, I am quite excited about this, especially given the good weather we’ve been having.

As I get closer to the date for the move I am starting to move from excited to wary. Do I have the right equipment? How much is it all going to cost? Does my bike even work after a winter sat in the shed? Can I remember all of the rules of cycling on the road? It’s been more years than I care to mention since I passed my cycling proficiency at school and the more I think about it, the more daunting the prospect becomes.

I’m sure that this feeling of apprehension is something that most people who cycle to work have faced at some point, and that it puts off a lot of would-be cycle commuters. How many of us have, at some point, had the opportunity to make the move to cycling – or even walking – to work and have justified staying in the car? “But I’ll be sweaty by the time I get to work”, “there’s nowhere safe to lock my bike” or even “I don’t want to be the only one in the office who cycles.” When I first left university I worked in a chocolate factory near by home and my favourite excuse to avoid walking was “but if I walk, then I’ll be hungry and I’ll eat all of the chocolate.” Never mind that I inevitably picked at the goodies regardless (we called it ‘quality control’).

I am now in the fortunate position of sharing an office with people who are enthusiastic about cycling, and not just because they’re all environmentally conscious. They arrive to work bursting with ideas they’ve formulated on the road, wide awake and full of energy – a real contrast to my temperament after an hour of sitting in queues, dreaming desperately of reaching work (and caffeine).

Am I slightly worried about my first commute by bike? Yes. Will I let that put me off? Not a chance. Not only will I be much healthier, less stressed, and feel less guilty about my carbon footprint, I will also be saving a huge amount of money – what more could I want?

To celebrate Bike Week 2014 Green Books are offering 40% discount and free p&p in the UK on the following books:

Cycling to Work: A beginner’s guide by Rory McMullan
Car Sick: solutions for our car-addicted culture by Lynn Sloman

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