Gym v bike: a one-sided battle?

Joining a gym is a great way to improve fitness and lose weight. But we think resolving to ride your bike could be a far more attractive idea. Here’s why….


Goodbye fees, hello fitness for free

The average UK gym-goer spends £32 each month on membership. That’s an incredible £384 a year. However, with a bicycle you’ve got unlimited fitness potential just waiting to be used — available any time, any day of the year — absolutely for free. OK, we realise there are a few other costs involved, such as buying a lock, lights, helmet, suitable clothes, some basic tools and spare parts. We know that if you’re starting from scratch then getting all that and a new bike for £384 might be a bit of a stretch but you’ll be using the bike for a lot more than a year and it’s definitely doable for around £500.

>>Read about the savings of using a cycle to work scheme here<<

Fresh air, not stuffy sweatsville

You know that fresh air is free, as well? So why pay to exercise in a closed, unnatural environment? It’s quite ironic to hear ardent gym goers talk about how careful they are choosing what to eat and drink. Yet they’re happy to puff and pant within feet of other folk, who are — there’s no nice way to put this — expelling bodily fluids into the surrounding environment like there’s no tomorrow. Of course, going for a group ride with other sweaty cyclists is great fun, but at least the fresh air helps blow the perspiration away. Oh, and for people who say it’s no fun breathing city air when you’re in the saddle, even from central London you can be riding around in true country air within an hour.


Say hello to the world, don’t hide in your own head

When we think of the typical gym member, we think of somebody carrying a water bottle, mobile phone and a set of headphones. Despite the public, communal nature of gyms, it often seems that people go there to block themselves off from everybody else. That’s OK of course but on a bike you can keep yourself to yourself or you can also choose to say hi to people as you pass. Interaction with the rest of the human race really isn’t such a bad thing — in fact, quite often it brightens everyone’s day. Trying to be the life and soul of the gym may on the other hand earn you an unwelcome reputation.


Fitness and commuting can be one and the same

Joining a gym is seen as being the most efficient way to get your exercise hit in. All the machines you could ever need are there, and there are extra classes, too. But what if the machine you want is being used? And the class you’d like to take, is on a day you normally work late? And however you look at it, the gym isn’t at home, so at the very least you’ll have to make some effort just to get there in the first place. Not so cycling. Ride to work and back and build your fitness routine into your daily commute. Imagine that: getting home quicker than if you’d taken the car or public transport to work, and getting your daily fitness session done, too.

>>Find out about our Ride to Work scheme here<<

A little bit of fashion, and a whole lot of function

Moving on from the perfect practicalities of cycling for fitness, what about the clothes you wear? Lycra shorts and jerseys might be very bike-specific — and we thoroughly recommend you wear them for specific types of riding — but there are other bits of bike kit that can double up with daily life. Baggy cycling shorts can be worn off the bike almost any time, and don’t forget your casual winter cycling jacket — the amount of times we’ve used that on Guy Fawkes night, or walks in the woods, or to wear while watching sports events. Gym clothes often don’t have quite the same universal applications.


Every day’s a little different

You might see a few of the same faces if you ride in the same area, but every trip on your bike tends to become a new adventure. One day it might be raining. One day it might be sunny. One day there might be roadworks and you’ll end up exploring a new route. One day you’ll argue with a taxi driver. One day you’ll see a poster for a concert or an event you’d like to go to. One day you’ll see a ‘for sale’ sign and you end up moving house. One day you’ll cycle past an attractive person who stops to ask directions, you get chatting, exchange numbers and they become your partner for life. OK, maybe not all those things will necessarily happen, but we guarantee your bike-based exercising regime will inspire you to think a lot more about life in general than seeing the same four walls in the gym.


Obviously, not all gyms (or gym-goers) are the same and finding the motivation to go out riding in a blizzard won’t always come naturally. Furthermore using the gym for specific training sessions, such as spinning classes, core strength exercise or even yoga can go perfectly hand in hand with cycling. Still, in our (slightly biased) opinion, cycling is more fun and with 2019 just around the corner, we think it’s the perfect time to ditch the gym membership in favour of regular bike riding (if you’re not already a devotee)…



Les 1/01/2019

I find that going to the gym go hand in hand, My first sport is cycling/racing, but it is not load bearing.

I hit the gym to run on the treadmill then straight into circuit training, body weight and weights in various

This gives me load bearing etc, as one gets older bone density suffers, and also muscle plays a vital role
in the protection of bones etc.

I am 62 and into various forms of sport/training, which has helped mix things up and more strength on the bike.

Glenn Corbett 2/01/2019

I’ll completely agree with all that I’ve just been reading, being out side for fitness is the best way to get fit, any time,, you don’t have to have the best bike around, you can get one for around £100 pounds, and still get fit and lose weight, and don’t forget to get a helmet to.

Hugh McAninch 7/02/2019

I am 72 and after advice from my 43 year old son bought an ebike. An ebike has opened up a new world in keeping fit and supplements my visits to the gym but above all it’s so energising – I have always been a gym person but did not find it fun but funny enough do now as I see it as a way to ride further and better on my ebike and also my other two ordinary bikes. These days I loath taking the car into town just jump on my hybrid and when I want a longer ride into the country jump on my ebike – never felt fitter at nearly 73.


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