Motivation for a Healthy Commute
We may know the health and environmental benefits of walking or cycling to and from work, but as the weather gets wetter and colder and the amount of daylight decreases, it can be tempting to pick a less healthy mode of transport.
To keep you motivated, we’ve put together the following tips giving the best chance of you continuing to champion being a low emission commuter.
Making sure in advance that you have a bad weather plan including having the right clothing, footwear, a place to store wet clothing or a wet bike, a change of clothing and shoes for arrival at work and generally thinking every eventuality through in advance removes the chance for any excuses
Saving the shortest route or one that keeps you on higher ground for wet weather and only using the longer, alternative routes for when the weather is fine will help to stop the feeling of the commute being a slog and allows some variety to keep your commute interesting.
Ensuring you have the clothing for any weather in advance will not only reduce the chance for another excuse, but ensure you arrive at work feeling fresh and ready rather than soggy and grotty.
Here’s a handy cycling clothing checklist:
- Padded cycling shorts
- Good quality base layer
- T-shirt or cycling jersey
- Breathable but waterproof, highly visible and reflective jacket
- Protective eyewear
Cold weather extras:
- Extra body layer like a long sleeve t-shirt or gilet
- Arm and leg warmers or thermal cycling tights for limbs
- Thermal full finger gloves for hands
- Waterproof, thermal cycling overshoes for feet
- Snood or buff for neck
- Thermal hat or skullcap under helmet
4. Other ‘Ready for any weather’ Kit
It’s not just clothing that needs to be weather appropriate; having these extras at the ready will also be useful:
- Waterproof walking shoes or wellies
- Bicycle lights
- Mudguards for bicycles
5. Weather Predictions
Checking the forecast the night before, for example with the Met Office, and putting the relevant clothes at the ready before you go to bed will allow you to sleep easy knowing you are ready for whatever tomorrow holds.
6. Safety First
Improving your safety as the weather and light dictates will make your commute less dangerous allowing you to feel more confident about keeping up your commuting habit.
- If it is the first time you are walking or cycling to work, you may feel reassured by letting colleagues know so that they can be ready in case there are any issues
- Whether walking or cycling, it is worth wearing bright and reflective clothing on dark days
- Walkers should walk in the direction of oncoming traffic, so that you can see cars coming towards you, use pedestrian crossings and not be tempted to be looking at a phone rather than concentrating on your surroundings
Cyclists should adjust their style of riding to suit the weather, for example by:
- Slowing down: Faster speeds give you and motorists less reaction time, so always ensure you have more time to stop and maintain a safe travelling speed
- Making wider turns: Taking a corner too sharply when the roads are wet can cause your wheels to slip. Because of this, take as wide of a turn as you can at a slower speed than you might normally
- Feathering your brakes: Doing this before you need to come to a complete stop clears water from the rim surface and makes it easier to brake
- Avoiding painted lines: When it’s wet, the painted lines on the road are even slicker and more dangerous than usual.
7. Reasons to be smug
Remembering the positives of walking or cycling to work will make all the preparation worthwhile, so here are just a few to keep you motivated:
- Improved body fitness
- Improved mental wellbeing and lower stress levels
- Fewer health problems; cycling and walking exposes you to less air pollution than other types of transport
- Time to yourself allowing time to organise your mind
- Saving money
Sources and extra information: