When we think of commuting, our thoughts may go to standing in a queue for public transport, being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic or sitting stationary for an extended period of time. When you are gearing up to commute to work on a Monday morning, cycling is one of the few ways to get to your office that can combine a commute with recreation.

I have fond memories of cycling to work in Kolkata. I initially used public transport which required taking an auto, followed by changing two buses, and taking another auto for a 90 minute commute from Salt Lake to Tollygunge. Spending three hours in public transport wasn’t fun, until I decided to try covering the distance on two wheels.

Bike to Work a decade apart

Cycling reduced my commute time to under 50 minutes, and gave me an opportunity to spend time getting fitter along the way. It would have been much longer if I was riding my first bike, a BMX. But on a road bike, the miles flew by.

When Decathlon celebrated Bike to Work Week from 17 to 24 May to encourage cycling to work, it gave us an opportunity to connect with more of our teammates who are passionate about cycling. We capped off the week with a ride to our Decathlon Anubhava office on a bright morning on 24th May.

Here are 10 of the many benefits of cycling to work -

1) Cycling is an Eco-friendly mode of transport

Ebin Mathew is a Supply Chain manager for Decathlon's cycling brand in India

Cycling is a sustainable and environment-friendly mode of transport. You are burning calories, not fossil fuels. It can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and contribute towards improving the air quality for everyone.

While one cyclist may not move the needle for the planet, each one can together make many. Cycling also reduces noise pollution as you aren’t honking a loud horn, or roaring your exhaust when you ride.

Just roaring.

2) Cycling to work helps you burn calories

Arbind Prsad from Decathlon Play team practicing what he promotes

Cycling is a low impact cardio activity that you can pursue at your own pace to burn steady calories. I used to ride extensively in heart rate Zone 3, before gravitating more towards a slower and steadier Zone 2 ride where you are burning more fat as fuel.

Cycling to work lets you use that time to burn calories in a way that does not necessarily leave you sore or with aching muscles.

3) Bike to work helps you get a fresh start to the day

Vikash Gupta joined Decathlon in 2015, and continues to ride stronger

When you do what you love for work, work feels like play. But at the same time, it’s important to find time to get moving each day. Cycling to work lets me start off the day with a sense of adventure. Something to look forward to. Speaking of adventures, you can read about Vikash and his sister Minni's Decathlon journey here.

Engaging in exercise or play in the morning, can wind us up to charge ahead through the day with renewed energy.

4) Cycling helps elevate our mood

Physical exercise can help elevate our mood. Cycling helps release endorphins, the feel good hormones, and help lower cortisol levels, the stress hormones. This helps us feel relaxed and improves our level of happiness.

5) Cycling to work can help you save money

Thanks to those who put up a picture of the ride on the giant screen so quickly after the ride.

With the price of petrol hovering around Rs 100, commuting by a car can quickly burn a hole in your pocket. Cycling lets you save money that you would otherwise have to spend on petrol. Instead of spending on burning fossil fuels, you get to ride and be fitter. In the long run, it can also help you save on medical bills with cycling helping contribute towards good health.

6) Cycling to work can help you be more productive

Annie George leading Sustainable Development for Decathlon Sports India from the front

Cycling helps you arrive at work with more energy and vigor to tackle the day. Forbes conducted a survey of 1,038 work commuters, including 363 urban bike commuters and 675 non-biking commuters. The results showed that 70% of cyclists had more energy through the day, 51% reported less stress, and 42% had a boost in job satisfaction.

7) Cycling can help boost your immune system

Premanjali Lahiri could ride or run to work in a cinch

Exercising can help boost your immune system and help keep you younger for longer by combating the effects of aging. One of the challenges in pursuing a fit and healthy lifestyle can be finding the time to do so. But if you are cycling to work, you get to make time for your health and help yourself get healthier.

8) Cycling can help you get better sleep

Vishwaraj Mohan leading Decathlon Play from the forefront

A ride back to home after work helps you take a step back and destress after a long day. When you are engaging in regular exercise, it helps you fall asleep faster and sleep better at night.

9) Navigating traffic and finding parking for a cycle

There is no fun in being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. Cycling lets you move at a slow but steady pace on your commute, where you are not stuck sitting in traffic. It is also much easier to find space to park a cycle than a car. In the space it takes to park one car, one can park multiple cycles, reducing the need to build vast parking spaces. Spaces which could otherwise be used for a greener environment at your workspace.

10) Cycling together helps build a sense of community and togetherness

In a day and age of nuclear families, cycling helps foster a sense of community, camaraderie and togetherness. Riding together as a group lets you connect with each other in a relaxed manner. For co-workers, it helps in team building and gives us an exercise we can pursue together. Sometimes followed by breakfast or chai.

In addition to the above benefits of cycling to work, we can observe many more as we continue to incorporate a healthy habit of regular exercise in our daily routine. The above benefits are mostly from personal observations, and might not apply to everyone based on one's level of fitness, distance of commute, and many other factors. It's important to observe all the necessary precautions and obey traffic laws while pursing an outdoor physical activity.

Check out Decathlon's Cycling Collection
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