How to plan a cycle route to work
How to plan a cycle route to work
One of the major benefits of pedalling in is that your commuting time is nearly always predictable – and you will never be late because of ‘leaves on the line’ or a broken down vehicle.
Before you decide your cycling to work route and routine, you have a few decisions to make:
- Do you want to have breakfast before you go or eat at work?
- Will you shower in the evening or, if you have a cycle friendly employer, have a shower at work?
- Will you work in your cycling clothes or change out of them once you arrive?
If you ride fast and get sweaty, you'll need to change and freshen up when you arrive.
Ride to work slowly and you might not need a shower when you arrive
If you ride slowly and not up a big hill, getting sweaty and needing a shower is less of an issue.
If time isn't a big issue, finding a quiet route to cycle to work is more enjoyable than just thrashing up the main road. This may take a little longer, but you may save time getting changed at work.
Map out a variety of cycling routes
Even commuting by bike can get somewhat boring if you never vary your route, so it’s good to investigate some alternatives, especially if you intend to ride all year round. Occasionally ice, snow or just a diversion will mean that a particular option is unavailable.
So where can you find a route that is both pleasant and rideable on a daily basis? There are all sorts of route planning websites, gadgets and gizmos out there that can help you plan a journey to work on two wheels that is both practical and enjoyable.
Plan your route using Cycling UK's cycle route finder
Our Journey Planner is a good starting point – you simply put in the start/finish points of your ride and the system will do the rest. There are various layers of routes visible, from the fastest to the quietest or a balanced route.
The cycle to work route planner is powered by CycleStreets, a UK-wide cycle journey planner system, which lets you plan routes from A to B by bike. It is designed by cyclists, for cyclists, and caters for the needs of both confident and less confident cyclists.
Do you want even more information about your cycle to work route?
If you click for more details, it will even show you the location of traffic lights, the time it will take and the elevation covered. Plus you can see each section in Google Streetview too.
The Journey Planner can also show you how hilly your chosen route might be. One of the best things about Journey Planner is you can give also feedback on route problems and recommend shortcuts, to help others.
Ask your colleagues for advice on cycle to work routes
- Always ask other people at your place of work for advice on routes, they might know a short cut to avoid a busy section. Perhaps you could even ride in together occasionally?
Prepare yourself to cycle in all weathers
The route that seemed like a breeze in mid-summer may become dark and discouraging in mid-winter. Here are some top tips on how to stay motivated:
- Don’t feel you have to stick to the same routine every day – one of the many joys of cycling is the variety of experiences it offers
- Some days why not tackle a hilly climb to get a bit more of a workout, whilst other times you may wish to take the fastest, most direct route
- When the weather really takes a turn for the worst, don’t feel you have to cycle to work – it’s OK to take a different transport option. If nothing else, it will make you realise how much nicer it is to be out in the fresh air.