Cycle to Work Day - A Decade Celebration of Fitness & FreedomAugust 2, 2023
It's incredible to think that the UK's biggest celebration of cycle commuting is now ten years old. In that time, tens of thousands of ordinary people have swapped four wheels for two, fully embracing the financial, environmental and health benefits of commuting by bike. To celebrate this significant milestone, we thought we'd take the opportunity to shine the spotlight on two Ribble Collective riders who have spent the last decade riding to work and back. In doing so, we discover what made them choose the bicycle for their daily commute.
What is Cycle to Work Day?
Firstly we should probably start by explaining the reason behind Cycle to Work Day. It's no secret that riding a bike is one of the best best methods of introducing exercise into your daily routine. The benefits of cycling are many and well documented, but its getting people to eschew the dubious delights of crowded public transport and gridlocked city streets that poses the greatest challenge. Enter Cycle to Work Day - an annual community event created with the express purpose of encouraging people from all backgrounds and walks of life to experience the numerous benefits riding a bike brings.
Whether you've not cycled in years, never ridden at all or cycle everyday, Cycle to Work Day is for you. Its the perfect way to enjoy a day in the saddle, embracing the mental, physical and financial benefits firsthand. Commuting means many things to different people but to some, it will conjure images of cruising serenely along city streets on their way to work, school or college. But to others, it may be as simple as popping to the shop for some groceries, picking the kids up from school or meeting friends for a coffee date - with a slice of cake...obviously!
To make this proposition even more appealing, you can even join an online community to make your commute a more interactive and immersive experience. Love to Ride is a community of like-minded riders who just love riding bikes. With Love to Ride you can log your rides, keep track of your miles, check out your carbon savings, set yourself personal fitness goals and find help and support to ride more often. You can even win prizes. Go on, get involved!
Dee Allen - Ribble Collective Triathlete & Ribble Workshop Manager
As one of the UK's finest triathletes, Dee is no stranger to the top step of the podium. A fact borne out by her numerous race victories across the world, which also happens to include the small matter of a European title. Dee's greatest sporting aspiration is to one day race at Kona, Hawaii. Given her brurgeoning palmares of victories so far, we've little doubt that she will one day soon realise her dream of pounding the hallowed pavements of the crown jewel of ironman.
The fact that Dee has achieved all that she has whilst holding down a full-time role here at Ribble HQ is frankly mind blowing. Her dedication to her craft sees Dee having to fit an extremely intensive training programme into her daily routine. The sight of Dee arriving to work looking windswept and dishevelled is more than mitigated by the fact the she has already completed 'x' amount of laps in the pool and ran or cycled the remaining distance to work before some of her colleagues have even finished breakfast!
Why do you choose to commute to work by bike? I don’t drive, so it gives me no excuse to be lazy, ha! It's also a great way of getting some bike miles in as part of my multi-discipline training regime.
What sort of distance are we talking about? It's 18 miles each way, so a good solid distance to count as a session in training peak 😜
How long have you been commuting to work by bike? Since I've been a working adult, so the last 13 years or so.
Do you cycle every day come rain or shine? I do, including the odd snow shower! However, I can’t say riding through a Northern winter is much fun.
If you were to pick out one key benefit to cycle commuting, what would it be? Keeping fit and healthy, both physically and mentally. It's a great way to wake the body up in the morning and then relieve any post work stress.
It's a crisp winter’s morning, what’s your wardrobe choice for the commute? All the layers...winter bibs, undervest, thermal outer winter jersey, thermal socks, gloves, overshoes, hat, buff... In fact, the worst part is having to get up earlier just to put on all those extra layers.
Mudguards, too cool for skool, or drier is better. Too cool for skool. 😜
What're your top tips for commuting to work.
- Lights, always have lights on your bike, even in summer. You never know if/when you are going to get caught out.
- Don’t ride when there is black ice on the road in winter, it really isn't worth the risk. Always have a B plan for getting to and from work during this period.
- Be mindful. Always keep your eyes on the road and what is going on around you, even if this means slowing down your ride. I like to keep sessions to the trainer and use the commute to spin the legs out as active recovery, unless I am running late 😜.
What’s your commuting weapon of choice? Ribble CGR AL. The real work horse, chunky tyres and a bomb proof frame leaves me with no excuses even when the weather turns.
And finally. What does the future hold for you in terms of racing triathlon? Hopefully racing the Ironman World Championships as a professional female but also inspiring others along the way. If I can inspire at least one person then I have achieved my main goal in racing 😉.
Dan Jones - Ribble Factory Collective & Product Team Guru
Dan is that most rare of breeds - an Audax rider. These hardy individuals get their kicks from riding vast distances in all-weather and often through the night. So it's no surprise that should you ever encounter Dan out on the highways and byways fo the British Isles, he will no doubt be sat stride his beloved CGR Ti, festooned with the various bags, gadgets, gizmos of his trade.
If you're unfamilar with the audax discipline it can be roughly broken down like this - all participants are charged with getting from point A to point B within an allotted time limit. Dan is free to choose any route his imagination can possibly conjure to ensure he makes it to the finish line before the time exprires. Whereas back in everyday life, he can be found employing his vast cycling knowledge to his role as a product specailist. Another fun fact is that Dan's actually a qualified sound engineer, and loves nothing more than attending various gigs, where he gets to ply his trade.
Why do you choose to commute to work by bike?
I used to work for the NHS and the car parking was a nightmare, so it made perfect sense to ride to work. I’ve always seen cycling as a form of independence and transport so it’s made a logical choice to ride to work anyway, we’re a one car family and it also makes economic sense to ride everywhere.
What sort of distance are we talking about?
During lockdown I was transferred to a different hospital and my commutes were around 50km each day with 12-hour shifts. Currently it’s around 17Km each way when I’m in the office.
How long have you been commuting to work by bike?
Since I was 16 or 17 really. So over 20 years, but even as a teen I was riding everywhere. Bikes are so liberating for an adventurous youth.
Do you cycle every day come rain or shine?
I've cycled through flooded roads, tropical heat and when the coldest temp was -12 degrees Celsius.
Describe what cycling to work means to you in one word. Freedom
It’s a crisp winter’s morning, what’s your cycling wardrobe choice for the commute?
- 45 Nrth boots (cost me £225 and are over 6-years old and still going strong, so do the math over expensive overshoes)
- Good pair of bib tights
- Thermal base layer
- Thin long sleeve top
- Usually a gabba type long sleeve top
- Fleece buff
- Warm hat
- Thick gloves (buy multiple gloves)
Mudguards, too cool for school, or drier is better.
Who wants to walk into work with a soggy bottom?
Share with us your top tips for commuting to work. Enjoy the seasons. Always carry spares, plan a route that may be longer and slower, but won't leave you fighting through traffic.
What’s your commuting weapon of choice? Currently my CGR Ti, which is also my audax and gravel weapon of choice too.
And finally. If you had to pick one bucket list cycling challenge over all others, which would it be? And why? The Tour Divide off-road event that follows the Great Divide MTB route from Banff in Canada to Antelope Wells on the Mexican border. It's some 2667 miles in distance and includes over 152,000ft of climbing.
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