Having worked in an office for most of my working life, I don’t recall any mornings when people have come in and said what a lovely commute they had…. There is no escaping the fact that roads are getting busier and driving is becoming more stressful at peak times.
Did you know that the average commute to work in the UK is only 8.8 miles1, and the average price paid for a car is £10,5112. Taking into account depreciation, cost of fuel, insurance, maintenance, road tax, servicing and maintenance we are paying a staggering £5,5003 per year for something that does not make us happier or healthier and is damaging the environment. So, why are we doing it and is there another option?
I know that riding a bike to work for that 8.8 mile commute is the right thing to do. But for me the reality was big hills, busy roads, and a general lack of fitness and the determination required.
My ride to the office used to be 11 miles with the majority being downhill in the morning, which inevitably meant a slow, gruelling climb on the way home when I was mentally and physically exhausted. I would follow the route I took in the car as it was the quickest and most direct route, but it also had the most traffic. I knew that riding to work was meant to be good for me, but I wasn’t feeling it. I arrived a tired, sweaty mess and after a Monday I often returned to the car for the remainder of the week.
When I bought an ebike, everything changed.
Firstly, I changed my route. I quickly realised I could cycle further and hills didn’t need to be avoided, instead they became a fun feature. I left the main roads and opted for cycle paths and country lanes. This increased the distance of my ride by two miles and transformed my experience of riding to work.
Secondly, I embraced the outdoors. There is a saying ‘there is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing’ and this is so true. I upgraded my experience with the addition of a good quality pair of gloves, socks, waterproof/windproof jacket and overtrousers. Most days I didn’t use it at all, but it was like an insurance against less perfect weather!
As I was spending more time outside, it made sense to embrace it. Some days I would leave 20 minutes earlier and cycle through the woods to a view point where I would sit and eat my breakfast whilst watching the world rush by.
I now feel prepared to go outside any day of the year, and this has helped improve my mental well being no end.
Finally, I took back control. Speaking to a fellow cyclist who had watched a documentary about why we become our angry alter ego when we commute in our cars, he says it is all to do with the removal of our freedom of choice. Once we are in our cars, we are trapped. We can’t overtake and we are at the mercy of everyone ahead of us. If we are walking or riding, this changes. We can walk around someone stopped in the street or take a different path on our bike. We regain our freedom and take back control. I took back control on my commute, and became a lot happier for it.
So the argument for cycling to work is clear. But what would I recommend looking for in an ebike if you are considering swapping your daily commute in the car?
The cost of an ebike is always an area of initial focus, but when you consider the savings you will make against using a car, you find you have a lot of money to invest and potentially save. So, don’t look for the cheapest bike you can find, choose one which has all the features you need. Mudguards, integrated lights, locks and panniers racks should be standard equipment. Optional extras like, satnav, twin batteries, suspension, main beam lights, brake lights and ABS can also make your journey even more enjoyable. And don’t hold back when it comes to clothing. Comfort and style can be really important.
When it comes to the money you budget, consider this. If you were to spend £5,000 on a car for your commute, it would cost an average of just over £4,000 per year with all costs included. A premium ebike designed for commuting combined with all the associated clothing at the same price would save you nearly £2,500 per year. Not to mention the fun and healthy lifestyle you will gain.
Call us today on 01453 834 300 to arrange a test ride of a Riese & Müller premium ebike, or book an experience day online.
Dan @ edemo.
Calculation worked out based on £1.24 per litre of petrol, 8.8 mile commute, 51.7 average mpg, deprecation 40% per year, insurance, maintenance, service, repair and tax £876 per year.