• Dr Sally Norton


Seems like cycling to work is an easy way to fit some exercise into your day and give clear benefits to your health. A study, published recently, of 250,000 UK commuters showed walking had some benefits but cycling was even better.

The regular cyclists in the study had a 40% lower death rate over the five years than non cyclists – and a similar reduction in rates of cancer and heart disease – even when all other factors like age, diet, weight and more were taken into consideration.

And it wasn’t a crazy amount of cycling – an average of 30 miles a week – though, obviously, the more cycling, the better. What’s more, making it part of your daily routine means you have to rely less on willpower. Of course, there are all sorts of excuses we can make to avoid it – I will be too hot when I get to work, I’m in a rush in the mornings, the road is busy – but with a bit of effort those barriers can be overcome and you will reap the benefits of avoiding the traffic jams, saving on fuel as well as helping your health.

Try these tips…

  • Many workplaces have cycle to work schemes with discounted bikes – take advantage of them or ask your employer to set one up.

  • Plan a good route during a quieter time – perhaps over the weekend, so you know where you are going come rush hour.

  • Keep a steady pace to avoid getting overheated or find a local shower near work. Better still, get your employer to support cycling to work by providing facilities for bike storage and freshening up.

  • Lay out your kit the night before so you don’t make excuses the next morning.

  • Make sure you have the right kit – including a good helmet.

And if you are still thinking of reasons why you can’t cycle to work – too far, too many hills, worried about getting sweaty, try an electric bike. It still has lots of health benefits and means that many of those barriers can be overcome.

Achieving those sorts of health benefits has got to be worth a bit of effort!