This is a sponsored article in association with Red Bull.
We live and breathe bicycles at BikeRadar and for many of us that includes a daily ride to the office. Commuting by bike is good for body and soul, and this week our Bristol office hosted a special event for the Red Bull Million Mile Commute, and we’ve been logging some miles.
- UK readers, can you go the extra mile this summer? By running or cycling to work you can be a part of Red Bull’s UK-wide Million Mile Commute challenge this July. To sign up, visit redbull.co.uk/MMC, follow the steps on how to register and start logging your miles via the Strava app, ensuring to tag your activities as a ‘commute’ (Note: you can retrospectively tag your commutes for the whole of July!). More miles recorded mean more prizes, from Osprey backpacks to a Marin Fairfax bike, and be sure to grab your limited edition Red Bull 250ml Energy or Sugarfree can — a code under the ring pull unlocks 30 days of Strava Premium. Don’t forget to share your commutes by tagging @RedBullUK and #MillionMileCommute
BikeRadar rides to work
It should go without saying that we’re an office full of cyclists. It’s not just the editorial team either, half the floor seems to show up in lycra on days when the sun is shining, and a select few are all-weather heroes.
The UK has been basking in a seemingly endless heatwave so there’s been no excuse for shirking.
For added incentive, our office in Bristol hosted a special Million Mile Commute breakfast this week, accompanied by motivational talks from fitness influencers Twice the Health and ultracyclist James Golding.
Here’s how the team got on...
Jack Luke, Senior Staff Writer
“My commute is not long or arduous, so choosing to take an e-bike — a Gtech Sport (yes, the one from the telly) in this case — for my ten minute scoot into central Bristol today may seem decadent.
“However, it was a helpful reminder of just how good they are — pulling away from the lights is painless, hills are tackled with ease and I arrived to work sweat and stress free.
“An assisted ride also meant I could focus on my lovely surrounds, pottering along Bristol harbour quite merrily at a mere 15.5mph.
“To conclude, anyone that claims e-bikes are anything but great fun, incredibly useful and a great tool to encourage cycling for all has either not tried one or is just a miserable git.”
Megane Heurtin, Marketing Executive
“As a full-time working parent, rare are the times I can find 2 hours to go shred the black trails (ok, mostly blue) near me. I've therefore made my commute as fun and challenging as possible.
“I've selected two power segments where I enjoy a spot of commuter racing, I also seek out obstacles to work on my (almost non-existent) bunny hop skills and I even manage the occasional 10 minutes on the pump track.
“The commute back is equally as challenging towing a trailer and a toddler totalling around 25kg. But never mind the terrain or the load, I get to ride and that's all that matters to me. I sold my car 4 years ago and have been commuting by bike since, rain or shine, mostly rain, and even snow. And still loving it today.”
Oli Woodman, Deputy Editor
“Living approximately ten miles from the centre of Bristol means that riding a bike is the quickest, cheapest and most convenient way for me to get to work. This is thanks in part to the excellent Bristol to Bath cycle path, which serves as a wonderful alternative to the frustratingly clogged road network.
“Clocking causal commuter miles has made me a lot stronger on the bike and means that I can indulge in curry, beer and sweets without getting round.”
Matthew Allen, Senior Writer
“Full disclosure: I usually ride a motorbike to work for the simple reason that I live slightly too far from the office for cycling, and the first eight miles or so is on a dangerous and unpleasant A-road.
“I do however have the option of parking my car near the Severn Bridge and cycling the 20 or so miles into Bristol from there, which is exactly what I did this week as I had a test bike to return (the rather nice B’Twin Ultra AF).
“The ride starts with the bridge itself, which provides some spectacular views over the Severn and which this week wasn’t too windy — sometimes it’s mildly terrifying.
“From there it’s a series of reasonably quiet back roads which take me into the outskirts of Bristol, and then a choice of coming round the city via the Portway, or cutting across it on a variety of big and small roads.
“I chose the latter this time, got briefly lost in the delightful Blaise Castle Estate, got briefly lost again in residential backstreets, and then found my way to the city centre where I wove through traffic like it was a 2007 fixie edit. (But used my brakes, observed the Highway Code and did not acquire any knuckle tattoos along the way.)
“It’s not a ride I’d necessarily want to do every day, but it’s a welcome change from the M32 and a great excuse to take awful selfies.”
Dave Clutterbuck, Publishing Director
“My commute is either a 12 mile drive to the outskirts of Bristol and a four mile ride into town (invariably the winner in the winter), 16 hilly miles on country lanes (quick but brutal) or 25 flattish miles along the Sustrans 24 through the brilliant Two Tunnels into Bath and out on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path into Bristol (for when I fancy a break from the hills – which is often).
“On all three my journey is largely traffic-free and sickeningly picturesque. How lucky am I?”
Rob Spedding, Editor-in-chief, Cycling Plus
“I’m realistic enough to know that I’m a lucky bugger on at least three counts when it comes to cycling commuting. First up is my actual commute. I live in “Historic Bath” (in a huge Georgian terrace naturally…) and work in “Banksy’s Bristol” which is a perfectly manageable 15-miles or so each way.
“That said, if that manageable distance was only doable on the A4 I’d most likely resort to public transport a lot of the time.
“Thankfully – especially as Bath to Bristol is one of the most expensive per-mile rail fares in the country – my second stroke of luck is the Bath to Bristol railway path. This a 13-mile, completely traffic-free route that starts around a mile from my John Wood the Elder designed residence and the Cycling Plus office. Which was probably designed by a drunk man in a brown tank top in 1974.
“The Railway path, fans of cycling infrastructure history, was one of the first projects completed by nascent cycling chazzer Sustrans in the 1980s. I love it because it lets me have a pretty much-stress free ride to work. Obviously we don’t advocate riding with headphones on busy roads, but I’m happy to admit that I use my commute to catch up with podcasts – Football Weekly, Athletico Mince, Adam Buxton and, sorry, absolutely no cycling chat – or confirm to myself that I have exceptional taste in music.
“The railway path is flat mind – around 600ft in elevation gain each way. Recently, I’ve been using the commute to get in interval sessions as I trained for L’Etape du Tour. Obviously, it’s a shared use path so judgement is required so that you’re not riding balls out when kids are walking to school or grannies are e-biking to Tesco Express in Saltford for sherry.
“I wish some other users would show equally sound judgement of when and when not to ride quickly, pull out to overtake, or light up a joint… Some days, the railway path is perfect evidence that some people simply shouldn’t be put in charge of any mode of transport.
“And, of course, I luck out for a third time because I work on a cycling magazine and can use some fancy bikes for my commute. My main ride-to-work-weapon at the moment is my tricked out L’Etape du Tour ‘conquering’ Canyon Endurace CF SLX, with Zipp 303s, SRAM Red Etap and Quark dZero power cranks. Typical commuter really…”
Steve Fearn, Marketing Manager
“I’ve been commuting (partially) by bike for the last 2 years. Living 30 miles from the office, the car usually does most of the work, although I have cycled the full distance on a few occasions.
“Last week we had our work summer festival in Newbury, which is around 60 miles from my house. Rather than spending 4 hours driving to the outskirts of Bristol, cycling to the office and then catching the coach to Newbury, I decided to ride it all.
“Rolling Cotswoldian back roads, 27 degree heat and bright sunshine, what’s not to like?
“Well, they had just resurfaced a road and due to the heat my bike sank a bit, and that meant I had to carry my bike 2 miles down the verge because there was no diversion, and there was a 15 mph headwind the whole way, but other than that… it was brilliant!
"I was fitter, happier and more deserving of a beer when I got there than I would have been if I’d just sat on a bus. I’m already planning an extended route for next year’s party, where I’ll be paying closer attention to road work signs!”
Are you keen to join the ranks of the commuting cognoscenti? We've got loads of advice and tips to get you rolling in comfort and style.