ecause we sell bikes, you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’re all die-hard cyclists who wear lycra at the office. And while this is true for most of us, some of us use the humble bicycle mostly as a mode of transportation to get us to and from the workplace as painlessly as possible. We asked four Bike Co-op members at our Dalmeny HQ about their commute, and here’s what they said.
MANAGING DIRECTOR / SPEED JUNKIE
Route: South Edinburgh – Dalmeny
Distance: 14 miles each way
Average time taken: 45-50mins
Strava yes or no: Yes
“Spring time means many things to me but when it comes to my commute it means skinny tyres, dry roads, daylight and the opportunity to get my Strava plugged in and smash some personal records.
So the new tyres have now been purchased and fitted to my cross bike and the go faster stripes have been duly applied. I’m doing 14 miles each way most days of the week and when you’re riding the same roads you need to find fresh challenges to keep the fire lit.
For me it’s all about pushing myself to improve. I’m relatively new to the drop bar but definitely converted. The difference in speed from riding MTBs and even street bikes is something to behold.
With Strava I can map my rides and chase particular segments (safely of course!) and will freely admit that I get a real buzz from competing with my fellow cyclists. I rarely pass another commuter now without wondering….’Are they on Strava?”
JEREMY RECOMMENDS THE WHYTE DORSET
DIGITAL MARKETER / ELECTRIC WARRIOR
Route: North Edinburgh – Dalmeny
Distance: 11 miles each way
Average time taken: 40 – 45 minutes
Strava Yes or No: No
“I started working at the Bike Co-op HQ in Dalmeny in the dead of winter in 2015, when it was cold, wet, and pitch black by the time I would leave work at 5:30pm. Despite that, commuting by bicycle was the quickest and easiest way for me to get to work, and it became easier once I upgraded some of my kit.
The first thing to go was my 1995 steel Specialized Stumpjumper, a beautiful piece of nostalgia which weighed a ton and was shot to pieces. I decided to go all in and be the first Co-op member to buy an electric bike, so I bought the Whyte Coniston and absolutely love it.
Since my commute is almost entirely on cycle paths I listen to BBC podcasts on my phone while I breeze along at a swift 15 miles per hour, and I’m at work before I know it. I’ve also expanded on my collection of breathable, waterproof clothing so when it comes to the weather I’m basically indestructible. Bad weather doesn’t bother me – in fact, it means the cycle paths are quieter!”
SIMON RECOMMENDS THE WHYTE CONISTON ELECTRIC BIKE
GRAPHIC DESIGNER / FOLDING FANATIC
Route: West Edinburgh – Dalmeny
Distance: 8 miles each way
Average time taken: 1 hour
Strava Yes or No: No
“When I moved from Redditch to Edinburgh to start working at the Bike Co-op, my accommodation was less than spacious so I didn’t bring my bike with me. With the excitement of a new job in a new city, I was initially content with the daily commute which involved a 10 minute walk to Haymarket Station, a 10 minute train journey and a 30 minute walk from Dalmeny Station to the office.
Once the novelty of the walking section began to wain, I invested in a folding bike, which has proven to be the perfect solution. I can now whizz from Station to work station in 10 minutes. The bike can go on the train (or bus) without fuss, and takes up no room in my flat. It’s great for scooting about town on the weekends.
It’s got me so into cycling I’ve also taken up mountain biking on a borrowed bike. I discovered that, despite never keeping up any exercise regime, I’m much fitter for the MTB climbs than I would otherwise be, thanks to my daily sprints on my great little folding bike.”
MATT RECOMMENDS THE BROMPTON M6L BLACK EDITION
For more inspiration on commuting, here’s a nice piece written a couple of years ago by George South (now retired but never forgotten Bike Co-op member of 35 years standing)
ADMINISTRATOR / THERAPEUTIC CYCLE COMMUTE CONSULTANT
Route: Central Edinburgh – Dalmeny
Distance: 9 miles each way
Average time taken: 40-50mins
Strava yes or no: No
“My nine mile route to the office is an eclectic mix of urban streets, cyclepath along converted railway and quiet rural roads. Why one would wish to rush through such a gift is a mystery to me.
The hybrid is built for comfort and convenience, not for speed, yet there is just a quarter of an hour difference between my ride to work and commuting by car. Public transport takes an hour longer, regrettably.
With the right clothing one can manage whatever the weather. Panniers are invaluable for, not just the change of clothing, and food, but also for nabbing some shopping on the way home. My average speed of about 12 miles per hour makes possible conversation with fellow cyclists, pedestrians, their pets…. As regular commuters, we get to know each other’s names. We look to the mutual concerns of our commuting community. We warn one another of hazards ahead such as ice or broken bottles.
Good exercise in fresh air, surrounded by the natural world and awareness of the changes in the weather and the seasons, are benefits of riding to and from work. Also the trip affords a time to plan the day ahead, and at end of day, time to unwind from work. I find that commuting by bike is invaluable in maintaining a healthy work-life balance.”