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Eurocycles Cycling to work top tips for beginners.

12 Tips to start cycling to work.

If you are tired of getting stuck in traffic and are jealous of cyclists overtaking you, it might be time to consider cycling to work. While the idea is appealing and makes a lot of sense (save money, get fit, lose weight, reduce health risks, reduce traffic, etc.), it can be hard to take the first step. That is why we are listing our 12 top tips to cycle to work to help you make the jump.

1. Start Small and build your fitness.

Not all of us are built like Stephen Roche and can cycle the distance from the get-go. Whatever the distance separating you from your office, start your cycling-to-work journey by cutting it short. Drive some distance, park your car, and continue the rest with your bike. Increase the cycling distance as your fitness builds and as you feel more comfortable. Only do what you can do. Start small. 

2. Start with achievable frequency.

As for distance, frequency is another thing to consider. Your current fitness, tiredness, and motivation might not let you cycle to work every day. It is ok to cycle to the office only one or two days a week. One is better than none. Sure, there might even be weeks when the bike is not an option.

3. Any bike will do.

There is no rule as to what bike you should use to cycle to work. While hybrid bikes are popular because they offer a comfortable riding position, good puncture-resistant tyres and are still rolling smoothly on roads, nothing prevents you from using a road bike, MTB or any other bike to cycle to work. 
However, if you are worried about cycling being too strenuous, why not opt for an e-bike? Electric bikes are a lot of fun and ease any cycle. What's more? You can purchase them through the bike-to-work scheme. 

Commuter enjoying her cycle to work on her Scott electric bike - Eurocycles Ireland Dublin

4. Protect your head.

While cycling is a fun activity that will boost your day and, we are sure, make you more productive at work, you want to ensure you are safe while doing so. You should always wear a helmet to protect yourself in the unlikely chance of being in an accident. And, if you are worried about your hairdo, just put a brush in your backpack to fix it when you arrive. 

5. Consider cycling shorts.

While you don't need to invest in a complete set of cycling jerseys and other cycling-specific clothing, a good pair of cycling shorts can make all the difference between a comfortable and uncomfortable commute, especially if you are spending more than 20 minutes on your bike at a time. Cycling shorts (worn "commando", i.e. without underwear) eliminate the friction and pressure exerted by regular trousers. 

6. Invest in a good cycling jacket and over trousers.

Again, you do not need all bike-specific clothes to cycle to work. But Ireland is a pretty wet country, and the last thing you want to do is arrive at work soaked and miserable. Because of this, you should invest in a good waterproof cycling jacket and a pair of sturdy overtrousers with plenty of high-vis and reflective details. We would advise you to have these in your bag even on a sunny day. You never know when the weather might turn. 

7. Plan ahead

When cycling to work for the first time, try to find routes with minimal traffic to make it more comfortable. Cycling your commuting journey at least once on a day off can be a great idea as it will help you memorise your itinerary and feel more confident the day you are heading to work on the bike. 

8. Give yourself plenty of time.

When cycling to work, allow plenty of time to make your journey. It is better to arrive early than needing to push hard on the bike to make it on time. Giving yourself time to get to your office means you can take it easy and ride at a low intensity reducing the chances of arriving in a sweaty mess. 
It will also allow for any possible delays like a flat. 

9. Learn to change a tyre.

Punctures are unfortunately a reality. If you don't know how to change your tyre yet, you should learn how to, and carry with you a spare tube, some tyre lever and a small pump to help you fix it on the spot and make it to work without delays. 

10. Invest in a good bag to carry your essentials.

When cycling to work, there are a few things you need to carry with you. Your phone is a must in case anything happens, and you need some external assistance. Consider bringing a change of clothes whether you sweat a lot or not. It is nice to be able to change once you arrive and feel a bit fresher. If you are lucky to have showers at work, then add a towel and shower gel to your pack. If you don't have showers, a small towel and a deodorant will make for a nice freshen-up pack with your change of clothes. Finally, as mentioned earlier, you should have a repair kit with you in case of a puncture. 
A good carrier bag will become your best companion to transport all this securely and comfortably. However, some bikes can't take panniers, then consider investing in a good backpack. 

11. Check your bike regularly.

Finally, while you don't need to be a bike mechanic, it is good practice to go over your bike every week to ensure it is in perfect working order. 
Have a look at your tyres: Are they inflated enough? Are there any signs of wear and tear? (Check our tyres guide to know the signs). 
Check your brakes: Are they responding well when in use? Are the brake pads worn?
Lights: Make sure your lights are charged if cycling in dark conditions. This should be part of your daily routine. 

12. Back-up plan.

While we don't want to sound alarmist, and most of us here at Eurocycles are commuting on our bikes happily, bad days can happen. It might be a good idea to have a backup plan. Know where the nearest bus stops, DART and Luas stations are on your journey in case you need to put the bike aside and finish your commute in public transport halfway through. 

Cyclist enjoying her commute to work on a Scott electric bike. - Eurocycles Ireland Dublin

All in all, cycling to work is good for you. You will increase your fitness, save on petrol and car bills, and arrive at work feeling awake and smiling. But this can be a slow process and you should always take it easy at the start, prepare and invest in one or two accessories that will make your commute on the bike all the more enjoyable.