I’m now 3 weeks into the academic year at a new school. It’s 7 to 8 miles from home, so I sold my car (we’re now a one car family) and committed to commuting by bicycle. Admittedly it’s only been a few weeks, but so far I’m absolutely loving it. Here’s why…
Cars can be (increasingly) expensive beasts to run. I took a fairly hefty pay cut when I moved school (yes I know, not necessarily sensible during a cost of living crisis, but totally worth it and no regrets). When looking at how to cut costs I did a quick back of envelope calculation and found we were spending nearly £500/month on owning and running a second car (PCP cost, fuel, tax, insurance, service costs etc). That’s a lot of money.
Once you’ve purchased your bike, cycling is very cheap. Occasional maintenance (Youtube can guide even clumsy idiots like myself through some basics, and Reddit is full of great advice) and a service or two every year (depending on mileage) is pretty much it.
Cycling is low impact cardiovascular exercise. My commute is around 25-30 mins each way. My Garmin (connected to heart rate monitor) reckons I’m burning off over 200 kcal in each direction (depending on how hard I’m pushing). Not massive, but 400 kcal a day quickly adds up. It’s also improved the quality of my sleep. Not gonna lie, the legs ached a bit by the end of the week, but in a good way.
To be honest, I thought I’d begrudge the journey via bike and was doing it out of practicality. I don’t! It’s one of my favourite parts of the day (even in the rain). One of the things I disliked most about working from home was the lack of a clear start and end. Getting in the bike clears my head, and I’m lucky enough to ride through some nice country trails. The fresh air is exhilarating. It’s one of those “flow” type situations where you have to concentrate and it clears your mind of everything else.
I mean that’s it really. I’m not pumping fumes and CO2 into the atmosphere. Wasn’t my main consideration but a real bonus.
My previous school was 13 miles away and the commute took 20-25 mins by car. My new commute takes around 15-20 mins by car, or 25-30 mins by bike. 10 mins difference. Not a big deal.
And I won’t get stuck in traffic.
Yeah but what about…
So yes there are some logistical challenges and I appreciate it may not be possible for others. But there are often very workable solutions to these challenges (I’ll blog on these later); I didn’t ever think I could commute 80 miles/week by bike until necessity made me look more closely at it. So maybe it’s worth shifting some (or even all) of your school commute to two wheels…
Update: tempted to try the bike commute? I’ve added some hints and solutions to common challenges here.
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