I would cycle but it’s….

We’ve all been there: it’s 6am, the alarm goes off – and it’s blowing a gale out there, the rain is hammering down – you just don’t feel like riding your bike. You come up with a few excuses, and convince yourself to find other means of transport.

Well – don’t – because here are the answers to your excuses:

It’s wet, cold and miserable

That’s absolutely fine as long as you have good kit – it really is true that there is no such bad think as poor weather, only poor clothing. We recently reviewed the Endura Gridlock II jacket- which will keep you dry and warm, and for more examples of great kit for wet and wintery weather, check out this post.

Enjoy the rain with good kit

Enjoy the rain with good kit

When you arrive at work, remove your waterproofs or change into your civvies, you will be able to enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you beat Mother Nature on your bike.

The dark is making you nervous

Dark mornings and pitched black evenings can make riding feel hazardous. It really doesn’t need to be that way with the right lights.

Bike lights are split into two categories: “be seen” – those that will make sure drivers can see you, but which will leave you relying on street lights to guide your way, and “seeing” – those that will actually show you the road.

“Seeing” lights aren’t cheap – but they mean you can ride in the dark in confidence – giving you more choice as to where you ride. If your commute has you go in and out of the city – you can enjoy quieter country lanes along the way.

My favourite seeing light is the Exposure Diablo – at £175 it’s not cheap – but remember it’s rechargeable, and all the cash you save on fares or petrol adds up over time whilst this just plugs into your mains.

We have more recommended bike lights.

The Exposure Diablo will make cycling in the dark easier and safer

The Exposure Diablo will make cycling in the dark easier and safer

Arriving at work is hassle

Not all work places make it easy to commute by bike. However – there are some simple things you can do yourself to make the arrival simple:

  • Keep a couple of spare outfits at work – that way, if your backpack or panniers are going to be more full with extra items you need for the day, you already have a change of clothes.
  • Have wet wipes at the ready if you don’t have good showers at work.  If your workplace is lacking showers, there are a few more tips in our blog specifically about this struggle here.
  • It’s best to use a D-Lock and a cable lock to secure your bike – but the D-Lock is no light item, is it? If you have company bike stands, leave a D-lock attached to the stand so you don’t have to transport it.

Riding in the cold will make me ill

Wrong! Without going all Dr Science on you, coughs and colds are caused by virus’, and these are spread through droplets suspended in the air and sometimes lingering on door handles and other surfaces. Being nose to armpit on the tube, surrounded by other commuters and all their sniffles, will increase your likelihood of being ill.

Moderate exercise, such as gentle commuting, will strengthen your immune system. Keeping active rids the lungs of airborne bacteria and viruses, increases blood flow which means good blood cells that fight infection reach potential damaging germs quicker, and reduces the release of stress-related hormones which can contribute to the likelihood of burying your nose in the tissues.

So there you go – no excuses! For more encouragement, check out 5 best things about winter cycling.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

16 Responses to I would cycle but it’s….

  1. remerson 28/11/2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Just remember to point your “seeing” light AT THE GROUND please, instead of letting it dazzle other road users (e.g. me on my bike coming the other way).

    • Paul M 30/11/2013 at 3:44 pm #

      Actually, I find that pointing my Exposure directly at oncoming motorists is often essential for my survival – they seem either not to have noticed me in the dark otherwise, or at least not to care. Living on a single track, unlit country lane, there is generally not enough space for them to pass me safely and we need to negotiate our way to a passing place. A quick blip of high-candela LED between their eyes gets their attention and forces them to slow down and take care.

      Obviously that rules doesn’t apply to cyclists or pedestrians who pose no such threat, and it only needs to be momentary.

      • Peter 13/12/2013 at 7:54 am #

        going down a country lane with a motorist coming the other way I would prefer that they are not blind (which dazzling them will make them)

  2. Orla 28/11/2013 at 3:23 pm #

    I really thought cycling in winter would put me off (I’m now cycling almost a full year) but I quite enjoy it. It certainly beats shivering at the bus stop!

  3. brian voakes 28/11/2013 at 3:29 pm #

    These are all the excuses I use TO GO cycling! Wet? Cold? Dark? Empty streets!

    • Mike White 28/11/2013 at 4:39 pm #

      Well said Brian!

  4. Michiel 28/11/2013 at 7:30 pm #

    If those reasons stop you cycling in the UK you can never go cycling.

  5. John 28/11/2013 at 8:54 pm #

    My usual problem is basically being exhausted. Especially the day after a hard day at the chalk face followed by a night of being kept up by the kids. And I always regret going by car!

  6. denvejc 28/11/2013 at 9:52 pm #

    Alarm going off at 06:00 ?! What a luxury. I’m already on the road by then. Why? Because it’s the highlight of my day. And after I’ve finished work I get to do it all over again. I read once that there is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing.

    Give cycling a go. You might just like it.

    • Mik 04/12/2013 at 3:12 pm #

      > I read once that there is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing.

      I hear this quoted a lot and always feel it’s overly glib.

      I consider bad weather/conditions to be created when multiple things come together, so gusting winds and driving rain, or heavy rain and a dark cloudy night. Sleet. I know there’s clothing to keep you dry and to keep the wind out, but I’m not sure there’s any to stop a cross wind catching your front wheel as you pass a gap…

      I guess I figure if clothing fixes it, it wasn’t really that bad to begin with…

  7. PD 29/11/2013 at 10:14 am #

    No mention of the die-in at TFL tonight? are you attending?

  8. Toby Field 29/11/2013 at 11:56 am #

    Although preparing for winter on the bike can be expensive, an exposure light is an extravagance that most cyclists don’t need.

  9. kie7077 29/11/2013 at 9:57 pm #

    I am very happy with the Cateye Volt 1200 which is 1200 lumens – more lumens than the exposure and it was ~ £125 from cycle sports uk (who have a good returns procedure too – have returned a couple of items).

    If you do put a really bright light on your bike then dip it when in the city, otherwise you’re causing a nuisance and a danger.

    My alarm goes off at 9am :-)

  10. Adrian 30/11/2013 at 7:13 pm #

    My alarm goes off at 0330 and the only thing I actually like about having to get up at that time is that I get to have a ride.

  11. Human Cyclist 01/12/2013 at 10:01 am #

    I would cycle but I’m…

    I find myself to be the biggest barrier – currently, lazy from enjoying too much of the hard stuff and enduring a many day hangover. The habit of cycling is easily broken by bad habits!

  12. Shades 02/12/2013 at 3:21 pm #

    Refresh all the batteries in your lights. You’l’ realise that all the LED ones have been in that infinite ‘middle zone’ between really bright and ‘dead’.

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