Advanced Commuter Tips

Why should you cycle to work?


The number of commuters leaving cars and public transport behind for their commute to work and turning to cycling to work, and with so many benefits it is easy to see why. Here are some of the reasons why you should make the switch to cycling around London rather than driving:


Cycling is undeniably cheaper than public transport and especially driving, the money saved, even with just one less car journey per week will quickly add up which of course you can spend better elsewhere.

Skipping the Gym

Why go to the gym to use an exercise bike before your commute to work when you can kill two birds with one stone and spend your time wisely, both commuting and exercising at the same time. If you only use the gym for cardio such as this you could even cancel your membership, making more potential savings each month! Those who mix resistance training with cardio workouts at the gym will find they don’t need to spend as much time on the cardio and get a more effective muscle building workout in in the time instead.


Fresh air and some cardiovascular activity twice per day will quickly pay off health wise. The increased activity can result in weight loss, even without the dieting which can reduce the risks of health problems in later life.


The charity Sustrans conducted a study in 2013 and they found that those that cycle to work not only have far fewer sick days than those that don’t but they are also more productive during working hours. Further to this there have been countless studies which found that using public transport is more likely to make you catch bugs and sickness compared to those who travel in cars, walk or cycle.

Cycle to Work Schemes

Even if you do not currently own a bicycle it can be a worthy investment to make. Lots of businesses run the Cycle to Work initiative which gives employers the opportunity to save money and tax on the cost of purchasing a bicycle that they are going to use in order to commute to work. If you are unsure about this, ask your employer for further information. With more and more people beginning to turn to cycling it will also have a knock on effect on the facilities such as bike sheds, cycle paths and other initiatives that are available in order to encourage more to cycle instead of driving.

If cycling everyday isn’t for you, you could always consider incorporating it into your routine gradually. Cycling in London one to two times per week, rather than driving will give you the opportunity to see how these benefits will positively affect you, you may just find you end up hooked!


Snack tips for commuters on the go

Great snacks to keep you energized on your commute to and from work

Being a cyclist is hungry work. Whether you’re making your morning commute or going on extended rides, you need to stay properly energized. The key to success is by eating the right snacks at the right time. A lot of cyclists are stuck in the past and still base their diet on outdated nutritional fads. After reading our guide, your backpack will be full of snacks to keep you energized and on track for the finish line.

Carbohydrates vs. fats and protein

If you’re partial to going on more strenuous rides, you’ll need a source of glucose to keep your muscles fuelled. What’s the best source of glucose I hear you ask? Carbohydrates. Thanks to their chemical structure, they can be quickly and efficiently turned into useable glucose.

Fats and protein are a source of glucose too, but the time it takes to convert those into usable energy make them a poor choice for cyclists. If you’re eating foods packed with fats and protein before a ride, you’ll probably not see the benefits until after the ride is over. Here’s a good article to help you choose the best carbs to eat before cycling.

What should I eat?

As you’ve probably figured out already, foods high in carbohydrates aren’t easy to eat on the go. You don’t often see cyclists chowing down a bowl of pasta mid-way through a race. You want to look for high-carb, low-fat snacks that are easy to carry and eat while riding. Low-fat cookies, raisins, dates and energy bars are all perfect examples of this. It’s important these snacks are partnered with plenty of water though, so that they don’t sit at the bottom of your stomach doing nothing. A regular supply of H20 will ensure that the carbs are quickly transferred into blood glucose that you can use.

When should I eat?

Eating on the go isn’t easy, but the temptation to skip it entirely is. Don’t do this. If you’re not supplying your body with a sufficient amount of food and water, then you’re going to have a terrible ride. You’ll experience a loss of energy, strength and general awareness before inevitably becoming frustrated and irritable. As a rule, eat before you’re hungry and drink before you’re thirsty.

If the reason you’re not eating is because the energy bar you picked up tastes like sawdust then you need to explore alternative snacks. The most nutritional food in the world is of zero use to you if you don’t like the taste of it; so find something you like.

Read the nutritional information, fill up your basket and begin experimenting. Strike the perfect balance between high carbs, low fats/proteins and good taste. Ethical Superstore supply a fantastic selection of organic food that will be right at home in a cyclist’s backpack and stomach.

Ridiculous Rain and a Thumbhole Sleeve Hack

Yo bikey peeps. A long time ago, back in Honolulu, I used to bike in the rain. And a not so long time ago, back in Asheville, I biked in some summer showers. And about 10 minutes ago, here in Portland, I got my ass handed to me by a downpour. Welcome to the Pacific NorthWet everyboday.

Oh man, I thought I knew cold. I thought I was a badass. I thought biking 13 miles home against the intense tradewinds and rain with nothing but spandex and a helmet holding me back was “cold”. Well, turns out “cold” in Hawaii does. Not. Exist. Period.


Remind me to wait out the rain next time…


Or maybe Cantaloupe needs some chromey fenders.

So, even though I roostered my butt with my lack of fenders, soaked my socks through my Chuck Taylors, and rolled home with totally drenched upper thighs through those Lulu Lemon pants that are so good for all other types of fall weather, I did come away with one successful cold weather hack. BEHOLD!


In my men’s XS rain slick, the sleeves and length are just a little long for me – the way I like it! That extra long sleeve is just long enough to reach my knuckles with the Thumbhole Sleeve Hack. Ka-bam-a-lam.

I call it the no-sew velcro thumbhole sleeve hack! Or, thumbholes for dummies. All you need is a rain slick with velcro straps at the wrist. And thank Gods I do, because it was the only thing keeping me from turning around on my commute and waiting for a bus while mumbling “Winter is coming!” All body parts wrapped in neon green rain slick stayed happy and dry.


So SIM-POH! Why hadn’t I ever done this before with my pink kids REI rain slick?


Thumbholes for dummies, I’m a dummy for not doing this YEARS ago…

So keep your sleeves down and your butts up, cycle ladies and gentlemen. You can bike commute in a race position all you want with the Thumbhole Sleeve Hack. Get your hack on, Bike Commuters, and keep your arms and wrists wind and rain free!

Weatherproof jackets for commuters

Listen up fellow riders, bad weather shouldn’t be an excuse to leave your bike to gather dust in the garden shed or garage. With today’s cycling-friendly clothing, staying warm and dry in less than desirable weather has never been easier. To show you how, here’s five top jackets that are sure to keep you weatherproofed for the coming months.

There are some top-notch men’s Helly Hansen jackets on Marine and Outdoor Clothing which work hard to keep rain out, and warmth in. Why not start with an essential like the Voss Jacket which offers total waterproof protection and comes in several bright colours – helpful when identifying yourself to motorists if cycling late at night. Or if you fancy something that’s a bit warmer, the Odin Isolator jacket is easy enough to pack away, but warms you up if a flash for those colder rides. It also offers extra wind protection but does just come in dark colours.


We really like the Sportful Womens Show SoftShell Jacket as the fabric not only ensures you’re kept warm and dry, but allows for maximum movement when out on the road; the high collar will also work to keep the chill off your neck. Another good option is the Altura Ladies Night Vision Evo Jacket which is great for commuters and, being reflective, keeps you safe on dark nights.

And for the juniors riders who also need to be kept warm and dry when out, we want something comfortable that will keep the chills at bay. The Helly Hansen Junior Dubliner Jacket has a higher collar, keeping the wearer warm all the way to their helmet, and is totally wind and waterproof.

For many more excellent rain tips and tricks, please visit our “Rain in the Forecast” article from a few years ago.

Don’t be like Dave Matthews

Our good friend Ken Sturrock pointed out this gem on today’s CNN homepage:

Stranded Dave Matthews hitches ride with fan to show

Basically, singer/songwriter Dave Matthews went for a pre-concert bike ride. He flatted and didn’t have the things he needed for a trailside repair, so he had to hitch a ride from a passing motorist (who just happened to be a HUGE Dave Matthews fan).

Don’t be like Dave, ok? Be prepared for roadside breakdowns! We’ve written several articles over the years that give a good overview into skills and tools you should have on hand when you commute:

Tools for the New Commuter

Tool-less Bike Repairs

Regular Maintenance for the Bike Commuter

Be safe, be prepared, and learn some basic maintenance tasks so you’re ready for anything. If you don’t know how to do your own bike maintenance, now’s a great time to check out your local bike shop for classes or to consult your friendly community bike co-op for lessons.