Why don't you ride your bike to work?
By bike to work
Cycling to work has many advantages. Because with a bike you can usually get to your destination faster than by car or public transport over short distances. And with engine support, this even applies to distances of up to ten kilometers. The annoying search for a parking space and the traffic jam at rush hour are also eliminated.
In addition, the movement stimulates the circulation, so that cyclists are usually fit early on. In addition, you boost the immune system, which ensures that workers cycling are less sick. So it is also worthwhile as a company to take a closer look at the subject of bicycle friendliness. In the Diamantrad blog we inform you about commuting by bike.
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Cycle commuters live longer and healthier
A long-term study from Great Britain shows that those who cycle to work are healthier and therefore usually have a longer life expectancy. In the period from 1991 to 2016, Cambridge University and Imperial College London evaluated the data of over 300,000 commuters and came to the conclusion that the premature mortality rate of these road users was reduced by 20 percent. Many diseases such as heart attacks, strokes and cancer were significantly less common among cyclists. These results show that the human body thrives on movement.
Taking the daily route on the bike is an easy way to incorporate exercise into everyday life. According to the WHO, diseases of civilization can be counteracted by cycling for 30 minutes five times a week. If your commute to work is shorter, no problem: Simply cycle a lap at the weekend and after work and you will get 150 minutes a week. Furthermore, as a bicycle commuter you reduce stress and clear your mind about what is good for your mental health. This way, nothing stands in the way of a relaxed evening after work.
Actions and initiatives from Germany and Switzerland
Even if the advantages of cycling as a means of transport are obvious, cycling commuters have so far been in the minority. In order to change this, there are hands-on campaigns in both Switzerland and Germany to promote bicycle commuters in the company.
In Switzerland, “bike to work” is intended to motivate people to use the bike for commuting. This is a project by Pro Velo Switzerland. This association is committed to promoting the bicycle as an environmentally friendly, energy-saving and healthy means of transport. Participation is easy:
- One company registers for bike to work and pays the participation fee.
- The active days are noted online.
- Within the company, it is then important to form teams of four and to cycle to work as often as possible during the months of May and June.
Those who pedal more than 50% of the days take part in the raffle and have the chance to win prizes worth over CHF 140,000. The pilot project initially took place in 2005 with 20 companies and 1,600 participants. Over the years, the campaign became more and more popular and grew steadily. In 2019, more than 70,000 participants from over 2,000 companies took part. The challenge helped to promote team spirit within the company and to improve the health of the employees. At the same time, participation was a statement on sustainable mobility behavior. Due to the corona crisis, the campaign will not take place in May and June this year, but in September and October (see also our blog post “Corona and cycling”).
The German equivalent to this is the “With the bike to work” campaign - an initiative of the ADFC and the AOK. Participation is free and easy to manage: during the campaign period between the beginning of May and the end of August, registered cyclists record the number of kilometers they have ridden online every day. If you like, you can also form a virtual team with colleagues (good for motivation). Anyone who cycled for 20 days or more within the campaign period will automatically be included in the big raffle at the end. Long-distance commuters can also participate by counting the distances to the train station, for example.
“By bike to work” has been around since 2001. Since then, almost two million cyclists have taken part. This not only promotes health, but also protects the environment. Because if you choose a bike instead of a car, you save a not inconsiderable amount of CO2.
As an example: People who cover twelve kilometers on a bicycle every day and do not get into a car save an average of one kilo of CO2. These days, cycling is more important than ever. Therefore, cycling to work not only takes place despite, but precisely because of the current Corona situation. There are a few changes, however. Instead of May to August, this year the campaign runs from June to at least September. The usual kick-off event is canceled this year. Anyone who is currently working from home and therefore does not have to travel to the office can also have other trips taken into account.
What should I watch out for with commuter bikes?
If you want to cycle your daily commute to work in the future, you will of course need the right bike. A suitable commuter bike is particularly important if the distance between your home and your workplace is more than ten kilometers. But not only the length, but also the nature of the route determines which aspects of your bike should not be missing. You should also not ignore different weather conditions and transport options when buying, in order to be well equipped in as many situations as possible.
A simple design and reliable components are much more important than unnecessary bells and whistles. So that you don't hit the office with dirty clothes even in bad weather such as rain or snow, mudguards should not be missing on your bike. Accordingly, also pay attention to whether you can clean your bike easily or whether you regularly have to take a lot of care. Your commute will probably not (only) lead through idyllic forests and past meadows, but rather include frequent cycling in the city.
So that you have a good view of the traffic and to reduce the risk of a bicycle accident, your two-wheeled companion should make it possible to sit upright. Also pay attention to the things you have to transport every day: If you drive to work with light luggage, a backpack may be sufficient. However, if you have to transport a laptop or the like every day, rainproof transport bags are best. They also protect sensitive utensils and relieve your back. And to prevent annoying flat tires, you should consider a bike with tubeless tires (tubeless ready).
What type of commuter am I?
Before buying, it is important to consider what type of commuter you actually are. What does the way to work look like? Do you want to use the route as a sports unit or do you want to walk more comfortably? What do you have to transport on your bike every day? Are you a long-distance commuter and want to take your bike with you on the train? Different types of bicycles come into question:
- The neighborhood commuter: Do you live and love the feeling in your neighborhood? Therefore, it is also clear that your job is not on the other end of town. Since the neighborhood itself and not your own four walls are your home, the way back from the office like to turn into a tour of pubs and bars. Of course, you cannot be out and about with functional sportswear. For this reason, a Dutch bike is suitable for you. The built-in chain guard and the deep-drawn mudguards ensure that your going out outfit is not ruined. The majority of the models have three to seven gears. This is usually completely sufficient for the paths across your neighborhood. It is also practical that a basket or transport bags can be easily attached to the luggage rack or handlebar. The after work beer in the park for your friends and you can be transported easily.
- The survivalist: You don't want to leave anything to chance and be perfectly prepared for any situation? Whether roads or forest paths - as a survivalist you can get along anywhere. A Trekking® bike is therefore the right companion for you. Even if you are not sitting on the saddle, you like to be optimally equipped. How good it happens that the transport of objects with these wheels can be done excellently. Whether basket or bags on the handlebar, frame and saddle: You are spoiled for choice.
- The last mile commuter: Are you always looking for the optimal solution? Depending on where you live, the quickest and most comfortable way to get to the office is with the combination of bike and train. With a folding bike you can relax and cycle to the train station and bring it down to a manageable size. Taking bicycles with you on the train is no problem. Then you swing back into the saddle. It's logical that you can get to the office faster from the train station by bike than you would on foot. Turning around comfortably in bed in the morning is no longer a problem with a folding bike. Despite the compact size, some models have a luggage rack so that you can easily transport your work bag.
- The morning athlete: In keeping with the motto “The early bird catches the worm”, would you like to do a little sports unit in the morning? If you need to exert yourself on the daily commute to work for your physical well-being, racing or sports bikes are ideal for you. The narrow tires ensure good rolling properties, so that you are fast on the road and do a lot for your physical fitness. However, these bikes are only suitable if you have the opportunity to move in the office and you don't have to transport heavy things every day.
- The adrenaline commuter: Are you always looking for the next adrenaline rush and are you trying to integrate this into your everyday work? Instead of paved roads, you can ride a mountain bike over a gravel road or through the forest. Wide cross tires offer serious advantages here. As with the racing bike, you should have changing facilities in the office and only travel with light luggage.
- The comfort commuter: Do you actually think sport is murder and you try to avoid movement wherever possible? On the other hand, crowded lanes are definitely not your thing early on and of course the environment is also important to you. An e-bike is the solution. Thanks to the electrical support, you can get to work on a rather long commute - perhaps even with hills - without sweating - even with heavier luggage. Thanks to the motor, a high transport weight is not a problem.
With an e-bike, commuting is easy even with heavy luggage - Diamantrad-Blog
Company bike and commuter flat rate for cyclists
Similar to a company car, a company bike has tax advantages. Cyclists can also claim the commuter allowance.
In the course of the debate about sustainable mobility, the legislature has equated the company bike with the company car. This means that you can purchase a high-priced bike on good terms through so-called bike leasing. Where and when you use it is up to you. As with a company car, there is a so-called "pecuniary benefit". This means that the private use of your bike is taxed monthly at a flat rate of one percent of the list price. The proportion of business and private trips is just as irrelevant as with the car.
If you make your daily trip to work by bike, you can use this as a flat-rate distance allowance for your tax return. As a commuter you even have the option of claiming income-related expenses. However, you can usually only credit the shortest route here. Driving a different route only counts in exceptional cases.
It's not only worth cycling to work, but also pedaling hard in your free time. The employees of the Diamantfahrradwerke run and cycle actively for "Diamond 1,000". This project serves to support local, charitable associations. One of them is a workshop that works with refugees to restore old bicycles for refugees. We wish all employees a good trip!
Conclusion: cycling to work is healthy and protects the environment
A recommendation by the WHO provides for 150 minutes of exercise per day. If you cycle to work every day, you can easily achieve this workload. At the same time, you reduce stress, and the frustrating traffic jam after work and the nerve-wracking search for a parking space are a thing of the past. Regardless of you as an individual, switching from a car to a bike also serves a higher purpose - the environment.
Actions such as By bike to work or bike to work motivate people to ride their bikes to work. As you can see, there are tons of reasons to get on your bike every day. It is therefore desirable that the two-wheeler not only be used more frequently during the promotional period, but that the trend towards bicycle commuting continues.
Further information on cycling to work
June 10, 2020
Diamant editorial team
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