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Making the Most of My Time: Cycling to Work

After yesterday's post, I have decided to review the activities I spent my time on and consider whether these activities add true value.

The first activity I want to consider is my cycle commute.

How much does it cost?

Time wise, it takes about 15 minutes to cycle to work, and 25 to 30 minutes to get home1. So I am spending around 45 minutes if my day cycling. But that is not the true cost, because I have to travel for work anyway.

The car journey is 10 minutes there and about 15 minutes to get home 2.

It only takes an extra 20 minutes of my time, and I get 45 minutes of exercise. That is pretty good value.

In terms of financial costs, I don't really know. I haven't looked up the information and this review is more focused on time costs. I expect that the costs of maintaining the bike will be higher than the cost of fuel saved, but it will be significantly less than the cost of a gym membership!

Do I really enjoy it?

Sometimes.

When the weather is nice, it is a good way to wake up or to unwind after work. When the weather is less pleasant, the journey is less pleasant.

However bad weather is actually quite rare. Back in 2014 I recorded all my short journeys (by bike and car) and found that it rained less than a quarter of the time. And that was any rain, not just the really horrible stuff that drenches you.

More often than not, it is a nice experience.

Any other considerations?

Safety. After the accident in October, I struggled to get back on the bike. Initially it wasn't a problem, the bike was in the shop getting repaired, then it took me another few weeks before I got over the aches and pains. But eventually I was faced with the fact that I simply didn't want to cycle to work again. I was scared.

I have now managed to travel a few times, but I can understand why many folk are scared. I am sure to make use of paths an cycle tracks, avoiding the roads whenever possible. But they can't be avoided completely.

Final thoughts

Reviewing these aspects, I think I am still getting a good deal. I am giving up 20 minutes of my day and gaining 45 minutes of exercise. I am getting a cheap gym session and a chance to let my brain unwind and relax.

Yes in really bad weather it is much less pleasant and it is a riskier way to travel, but in the long run, there is probably a greater risk from a sedentary lifestyle.

I will therefore continue to cycle when practical to do so.

  1. Getting home requires cycling up a hill. The fastest I have done it is 17 minutes but the numbers used are more representative.
  2. I usually get caught in traffic on the way home which adds to the journey time. It used to take just as long to get to work as well until the council change the timing of the traffic lights.
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