May is a month of changes. The summer is just around the corner, spring is starting to wane, and there is often a feeling of great positivity in the air. It’s an exciting time, and a favourite part of the year for a lot of people.
It’s also National Bike Month, with National Bike to Work Day taking place on the third Friday in May every year; for 2019 that’s 17th May.
This was once a small event, observed by only a handful of people. It started in 1955, created by the League of American Bicyclists, and the American Medical Association endorses it. As the years have gone on, it has grown, as has the number of cyclists commuting to work on a regular basis
The point on National Bike to Work Day is to promote a safe, healthy alternative to driving or using public transport. Here’s why that is so important.
Cycling is a healthy pursuit, and that in itself is a great reason to use it as a means of getting to work, and why employers should encourage it where possible – healthy employees are productive employees, and healthy employees don’t take time off work to recover from illnesses (or at least not as much time), making it easier and more cost effective to run a business.
The exact number of calories that will be burned on each bike ride depends on how fast you go, how far you go, and what your own metabolism is like, but the number burned will compare to jogging
, with less impact on the joints. As well as that, cycling lowers blood pressure, builds muscle, improves cardio-vascular fitness, boosts energy, and improves co-ordination, all ideal for getting a good day of work done.
Cycling makes people happier. Sitting in traffic or cramped up on public transport is not a recipe for happiness, and cycling is a way to combat all of this. By cycling, always on the move, getting where you need to be quickly, stress levels will be reduced, symptoms of depression can be reduced (although a medical opinion should always be sought if you feel that this is what you are suffering from), anxiety will be reduced, minds will be cleared, and even sleep patterns will be improved. Put this all together and you have a happy, healthy, energised employee who can get their work done easily and efficiently.
Studies have shown that cycling to work actually boosts brain power
. Regular exercise can reduce the chances of cognitive decline, and make your learning abilities greater. You’ll have a better memory too, and you’ll be able to focus more. This is good for everyone, and for employers, the more employees you can persuade to cycle, the more effective your overall team is going to be.
Where is your office currently based? Is it in a big city? Out in the country? No matter where it is, is it easy to get to? Is it what you might call convenient for your employees? Unless you pay out for a central office space, which can be far too much for some budgets to handle, especially startups, you might find that you are in a place that is difficult for employees to get to – the station might be miles away, buses might not come to you that regularly, the roads might be awkward and even unmade.
Cycling would eliminate those problems and make it a much more convenient place of work for many people. If that was the case, you could find that more people apply for your job advertisements, and you get a better pick of the right candidates.
No employer wants their employees to be miserable, and no employer would want their employees to only focus on work. Hobbies are important
, and feeling free of work is crucial. As much as you need to enjoy your job, you also need to enjoy not working too – and have the chance not to work. Cycling can give you the freedom you want and need. With a bike you can go anywhere, try anything, step outside of your comfort zone and experience what life has to offer. When you get back to work you’ll feel amazing for having had an adventure and travelled, and burn out will be the furthest thing from your mind.
In order to make the planet a better one to live on, we need to reduce pollution as much as possible. If more people take to their bikes instead of their cars or even public transport, the planet can be a much healthier one.
That’s better for everyone. If each employer does his or her best to persuade as many employees as possible to use a bike rather than a car or bus, the change will be a big one, even if it seems small to begin with.
Cycling to work brings many advantages to your employees and your business. It makes them happier, healthier, more focused and efficient, much more productive, and it means that you can entice more people to want to work for you.