How often have you experienced a delay on your morning commute? Maybe you’ve been stuck in a terrible traffic jam, your train has been delayed, or your bus has turned up late. There are lots of reasons why our commutes don’t go to plan, but new research has revealed just how much time we’re losing as a result.
According to a study carried out by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), British commuters are losing a huge five days each year as a result of issues on their daily commute.
In a survey of 2,000 people, the CBI found that we’re losing an average of 2.7 hours per week due to travel delays or disruption. Over the course of a working year, that adds up to 125 hours, or five full days.
Chief UK policy director at the CBI Matthew Fell commented: “Encountering delays and disruption far too often, employees up and down the UK want a cheaper, greener and more reliable commute.”
As we begin a new year, it’s a time that many people make resolutions. Maybe yours could be to find a better or new way of getting into work each day. If you currently spend hours on a train, bus or in the car, could cycling be a viable alternative?
One of the reasons people cite for not cycling to work is that they’ll turn up sweaty, or need to take a change of clothes with them for when they reach the office. But have you considered a commuter ebike? These take a lot of the hard work out of cycling, which means you can cycle further before you get hot and sweaty.
If you’re worried about your fitness, ebikes are also a solid choice, as they can help you gradually build up your fitness over a longer commute.
Last month, the University of Leeds published research which found that walking or cycling to work was associated with people experiencing fewer heart attacks.
The national study, which was co-authored by Olympic medal-winning triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, looked at data from 43 million Brits.
It found that, in the areas where walking or cycling to work were more common in 2011, the incidence of heart attacks decreased in the following two years across both men and women.
For example, for men who cycled to work, there was an associated 1.7 per cent reduction in heart attacks the following year after accounting for other risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes and being overweight.
Professor Chris Gale, lead author on the study and a consultant cardiologist from the University of Leeds’ Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine, said that although the data doesn’t conclusively prove a link between an active commute and lower risk of heart attack “the study is indicative of such a relationship”.
“Greater efforts by national and local policy makers to improve the uptake of cycling and walking to work are likely to be rewarded by future improvements in population-based health,” he asserted.
The university also pointed to a report published by the Transport Select Committee in July of last year, which stated that the government was not giving enough attention to walking or cycling to work, and that its current targets were “not ambitious enough”.
Current government targets are to double the number of people cycling to work by 2025. Chris Heaton-Harris MP, cycling and walking minister, commented: “Active travel has clear benefits – both for people and the environment – and this research provides further compelling evidence to encourage more people to travel by bike or on foot.”
Last year, cycling and running social media platform Strava released research which showed which UK cities have the greatest number of cycle commuters.
Bristol came in at the top spot, with 28.9 cycling commuters per 1,000 people, while Newcastle was in the number two position with 20.8, and Southampton completed the top three with 16.8.
Leeds and Cardiff, meanwhile, completed the top five, just edging out London which came in sixth. The capital does have the greatest number of cycling commuters in total though. Birmingham, meanwhile, was named as the city with the biggest growth in cycling commuters, with an increase of 10.8 per cent between 2018 and 2019.
Liverpool came in at the bottom of the list, with just 6.6 cycling commuters per 1,000 people in the city.
The data from Strava also revealed that users of the platform who cycled to work offset an impressive 46.2 million tons of CO2 in 2019, showing just how much of a difference cycling to work can make for the environment as well as your health.