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As a means of getting to work, cycling has become increasingly popular.
And for good reason. It’s a sustainable transport form that brings so many benefits that it’s difficult to list them all.
But there are always the naysayers and the skeptics.
In this article, we’ll debunk five of the more persistent myths about bike commuting, helping to separate fact from fiction. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should bike to work, then stay tuned to be convinced.
1. Cycling is Dangerous
One of the most irritating myths is that cycling to work or anywhere else is dangerous.
The truth is that cycling is no more dangerous than any other form of transport. In fact, according to Cycling UK, the chances of getting injured are 5% for every 1000 hours of cycling. Fatalities sit even lower at one per nine million rides.
But did you know that cycling could add years to your life, not take them away? The World Health Organisation recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week to promote a healthy life, and cycling to work is an achievable way to do this.
In fact, some studies have even shown that cyclists live longer on average! The results from one study in Copenhagen showed that those who cycle to work enjoyed a 40% decrease in the risk of mortality. That’s enormous.
Of course, there are risks associated with cycling, and any fatality or injury is one too many. But the bottom line is that there’s never been a better time to get on your bike. As infrastructure improves, cycling becomes a more desirable way to get to work efficiently, comfortably, and, most importantly, safely.
Follow the rules, respect other road users, and wear a helmet.
2. Bikes Slow Down Traffic
Another myth that’s recently gathered a lot of traction is that cycling causes congestion, ultimately slowing down traffic.
In some ways, it’s understandable. We’d be lying if we hadn’t experienced some frustration from a slower-moving cyclist in front of us.
Interestingly, however, an article from the Transportation Research Board Journal showed that cyclists are not guilty of negatively affecting traffic speed or congestion. What prevails, though, is the ‘must get in front’ mentality of drivers behind cyclists, which brings its own set of problems.
This is when cyclists use the roads. When there are available bike lanes to ride in, there are ultimately fewer cars as more people can cycle off the road.
According to Cycling Fallacies, the problem is not cyclists but the general traffic volume on the road. In fact, reallocating space for cyclists would result in more people being able to travel.
As we think about the future of our cities, where increasing numbers of people will be living in them, cycling makes more and more sense as a space-efficient, practical way to travel.
3. You Need An Expensive Bike & Equipment To Cycle To Work
You might see some state-of-the-art bicycles or flashy gear adorned by city cyclists, but these aren’t essential despite what you might think.
At its core, cycling to work requires a bike, a workhorse, if you will. You can easily pick up a cheap second-hand ride and a decent lock or two from online marketplaces or your local bike shop. It’s probably even recommended to use a cheap bike for commuting; after all, you’re probably not trying to get your best performance out of it.
When it comes to what you wear, many hardcore cyclists might make you believe that you need spandex, specialist socks, and a jersey to enjoy the ride, but the truth is that you don’t need them at all.
Granted, they’re a nice bonus for when you want to invest more, but when you’re first starting, they’re overkill. Commuting in what you would wear to work is perfectly acceptable.
And for those who don’t want to buy a bike, you can always consider trying a bike-sharing platform in your city. They’re cheap, practical, and convenient.
4. It’s Slow
No one is arguing that a bicycle is faster than a car regarding top speeds, but it’s a myth to think that cycling to work is slow.
Traffic will likely cause significant car delays when driving to work during rush hour. But on a bike, it’s much less relevant. Using a combination of road and bike lanes, cyclists can avoid the worst parts of congestion.
They can also navigate traffic, utilizing shortcuts that often aren’t accessible to cars.
We shouldn’t forget that the commute is also more than just the journey. With a bike, it’s easy to leave it at or close to where you work, but with a car, there can be a fight for the best parking spaces.
Best of all, cycling to work isn’t a rush like with other forms of transport. It can be done at your own pace. After all, what’s the hurry? Why not leave a little bit earlier and enjoy the ride?
5. “I Live Too Far To Cycle”
Distance is one of the top reasons people don’t cycle to work. It’s a fair complaint, but hear us out.
Firstly, it isn’t a case of all or nothing. You don’t need to cover the entire journey on two wheels to make it worthwhile. Combined with other forms of transport, particularly public transport, it can make up a leg of the journey. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of cycling, even if it’s just for a shorter distance.
No one would deny that at first, cycling 10+ miles each way every day can seem daunting, especially to a less experienced cyclist. But it can easily be done in stages! Building endurance gradually by cycling, say, one day a week, you’ll soon find the journey significantly easier.
Still unconvinced? Then consider an e-bike. With electric support, an e-bike can make commuting greater distances much easier, alleviating some of the physical burden. Covering more ground with less effort is a win-win for active transport.
Cycling to work can be practical, convenient, and even help you live longer. It’s time to stop looking at reasons not to get on your bike and to try it. You won’t just contribute to a greener, more sustainable future but also invest in your well-being.