Jun 14, 2016
How do you get to work in London? Unless you live within walking distance of the office, chances are you’ll be relying on public transport, with overcrowded services and overstretched resources struggling to cope during the rush hour.
Perhaps you drive to work, in which case you’ll be only too familiar with London’s ongoing traffic problems, not to mention parking restrictions and exorbitant charges.
So, what’s the alternative?
According to the most recent Office of National Statistics (ONS), the number of London commuters who cycle to work more than doubled between 2001 and 2011. Over 150,000 people in London cycle to work – that’s 20% of all the UK’s cycling commuters.
A spokesman from the London Cycling Campaign explained the growth, saying “because London is so congested, people see a greater advantage to cycling. […] There are London-wide benefits in terms of pollution, and there are personal benefits to the rider’s health.”
Of course, the health benefits of cycling are well known. They include better cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength and flexibility, lower stress levels and weight loss. Cycling is good for our bones, joints, posture and mental wellbeing. And if it also makes for a quicker and cheaper daily commute, then cycling to work should be a no brainer.
So, what can be done to encourage more people to get on their bicycles?
In London, much is happening already via Transport for London. There are now developed Cycle Superhighways from Wandsworth to Westminster, Merton to the City and many others, specifically targeted at bicycle traffic into Central London.
Free cycle guides are available for a large selection of routes including Chelsea and Camden, and cycle hire is widely available. The newly elected Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has promised to increase spending for cycling in the capital, which augurs well.
London has many established cycling communities, support and advice groups, and bicycle workshops can be found all over the capital.
If you need a little nudge to get started, why not join in with the activities of Bike Week? The biggest nationwide cycling event in the country, Bike Week takes place from 11-19th June to inspire and support people to get on their bikes. This year’s event focuses on encouraging people to cycle to work.
It’s an opportunity to rethink your everyday journeys and perhaps switch to cycling as a more convenient, healthier and cheaper way to get to and from the office. It could be the best decision you make.