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If you commute by train, the dreaded words “cancelled” and “delayed” are all too familiar. If you drive to work or take the bus, you'll know the feeling of helplessness when you're sat in a long line of traffic, red brake lights blinking as far as the eye can see.
A recent study claimed that traffic jams are costing the UK economy more than £37 billion a year through lost productivity, wasted fuel and, that most finite of resources, time. Individually the yearly costs are £1,168, on top of the ever-growing amount you’re likely to spend on fuel, MOT, road tax and the car itself. And train and bus fares are only going in one direction.
There's got to be a better way, surely? When you look closely at it, commuting by bike has never been a better option.
Starting on the road to commuting
Ask most people who cycle to work and they'll often remark about how much easier it is than they thought it would be, and that they wish they'd started sooner. It might seem daunting, but with a few tips, the right bike and suitable clothing you can join them. Many local authorities run free bicycle skills training to help get you started if you're a little out-of-practice – search online for your local area or give us a call and we'll help you out.
Modern bikes are lightweight, simple to use and maintain, and now many come with a not-so-secret bonus – power on tap. An electric bike, or e-bike, is a normal pedal bike which has a battery-powered boost available for when you need it. No need to worry that you'll not get up that hill, or that you think you'll struggle to cover the distance, e-bikes have really changed the way people think about bikes. They're much more than a weekend toy; in fact, for a lot of people they're replacing the car for a good deal of journeys.
For commuting, a hybrid e-bike is a great option. Hybrid bikes take the tough frame and strong wheels of mountain bikes and combine them with the ease-of-use and nimble handling of a road bike. They're true all-rounders, ideal for use on roads as well as along the canal towpaths and through parks which many commuters may use on their route. With mudguards to keep road spray at bay, a guard to keep your trousers away from the chain, luggage racks and integrated lights, hybrid e-bikes tick almost every box. But it's the battery power which really helps these stand out as the commuter bike of choice. The clever motor kicks in when you need it, so you won't arrive at the office out of breath and in need of a nap.
They might seem a little pricey at first, but when you compare the price of the Giant Ease to an annual rail pass there's really no contest – remember, your pass will run out in a year.
See and be seen
When commuting there's no better way to ensure you're conspicuous to other road users than highly visible clothing. On busy streets jackets and trousers that help you stand out from the crowd are essential. The Endura Gridlock and Altura Nightvision ranges are truly superb – with panels that reflect in headlights, they're bright and colourful enough to be noticeable even in daylight. Remember, you can never be “too visible”.
We've plenty of tips to help you through winter here. It's time to reclaim control of your commute. Think of all the time you'll save when you're not stuck on the train!
Here at The Bicycle Chain we've got all the expertise you need to get started and we're sure once you do you won't believe how simple it is.