So we all know that biking to work is great workout all by itself. But what if you want to turn that workout up a notch? Do you have to add more hours on the bike to get really fit? Do you have to hang on to that gym membership after all? Heck no.
Our friends at Total Women’s Cycling have put together an awesome workout plan that can be worked right into your bike commute (don’t be put off, dudes—you can do it too). Hey, if you’ve got to go to work every day, you might as well be crushing it at the same time, right? Take a look at the list below if you want to really go after those buns of steel.
(And if you’d rather keep your ride to work at a relaxed pace, we’re all for that, too. In fact, you’ll probably find us meandering down the bike lane, sipping a smoothie from our handlebar cupholders.)
(Remember, no matter how intense your bike commute is, you can earn cash and prizes for it! Learn about Georgia Commute Options rewards here!)
1. Burn Fat
Why it’s good: Low intensity exercise is perfect for burning fat, and therefore ideal for weight loss. It also doesn’t involve working so hard that you end up sweaty and out of breath.
What to do: Aim to ride at a steady speed and intensity for your entire journey, using your gears at traffic lights to maintain the level of effort. You are looking to be a little bit out of breath, but still able to hold a conversation.
2. Interval training
Why it’s good: This is great for increasing your fat burning zone so you use your energy stores more efficiently, and it will give you a good workout.
What to do: Increase your exertion and ride hard for 2 minutes at about 80% of your maximum heart rate; just below flat out. Then return to your normal speed and gearing for 3 minutes. Aim to repeat this 4 or 5 times over your commute where possible.
3. High-cadence spins
Why it’s good: Cycling with a higher cadence (which is essentially how fast your legs spin the pedals) is much more efficient than pushing hard gears with a low cadence, particularly when climbing. It can be hard to get used to though so training your legs into it is a very useful activity.
What to do: Drop down to an easier gear, and spin your legs as fast as you can for 2 or 3 minutes, then return to your comfortable gear for 8 minutes. Aim to do this several times during the journey. It’s surprisingly hard the first few times!
Why it’s good: This will help improve your explosive power, giving you a better turbo boost when you need it for breakaways or overtaking. You can try this when you are moving away from traffic lights if the way is clear, or on long obstacle-free road sections.
What to do: Increase your cadence and gearing so you accelerate as fast as you can, and keep it up for 1 minute. Then return to your regular comfortable speed. Aim to repeat this 4 or 5 times over your journey where possible.
5. Strength training
Why it’s good: Get your legs ready for those hard uphills by improving your strength and building those shapely thigh and calf muscles. This will also give you power for pushing over obstacles on MTB trails.
What to do: After warming up, shift your gearing three places higher, so you have to push harder to move the pedals. Keep riding on this harder gear for 2 minutes, then switch back down to an easier gear for 3 minutes. Aim to repeat this 4 or 5 times over your commute where possible.
6. Distance and Endurance Training
Why it’s good: If you are training for an event or race, you need to get used to doing long rides. It will also give you the opportunity to work out what you need to fuel your ride and how to pace yourself.
What do to: Try and add an extra hour to your ride home. You may need to take a longer detour to fit this in; pick a nice quiet or picturesque route, and enjoy the ride.
7. Rest Day
Why it’s good: You’ll give your muscles a gentle stretch through riding, but won’t make them work hard.
What to do: Just ride your whole route at an easy, relaxed pace.
It’s Bike to Work Week, so what better time to sing the praises of city cycling? Biking to work is great because it’s pollution-free and takes cars off the road—lightening traffic for everyone.
And while we know it’s hard to give up your air-conditioned privacy pod in favor of a commute that breaks a sweat, we have a feeling you’ll find it worth the effort. In fact, we’re confident that before too long, you’ll be a bona fide bike snob for life.
Why is biking to work the best? We grabbed a few pointers from Bike NYC:
Save money. Quit the gym!
In New York, it’s the bridges. In Georgia, it’s the hills. Pedal this terrain a couple times a week and you can cancel that gym membership. #ThighsofSteel
Biking is good for the planet
We’ve been saying it for years: When we reduce cars on the road, we reduce emissions and smog too. Some of you guys do it by carpooling, vanpooling or transit—and others do it by bike.
Get places fast
This one might be debatable in some neighborhoods—but hey, wouldn’t you rather be zipping downhill with the wind in your hair than sitting still at a red light? Case closed.
Again, we say: Downhill. There’s nothing like it.
See the city from a new perspective
With the windows up and the radio blasting, there are so many Atlanta sights, sounds and smells that you miss. Take a whiff from a bike seat and your worldview shifts.
Make new friends
You know who cyclists love? Other cyclists. Metro Atlanta’s got tons of trails and group rides that can give you a whole new crew. Find a few of them here!
Check out Bike NYC’s post for the full list. Then dig your bike out of the garage and take it for a spin in the general direction of your office!
And don’t forget, making the switch from driving alone to biking to work could earn you cash and prizes from Georgia Commute Options! Learn how here.
If you commute via interstate highway, you’re sharing the road vehicles of all sizes and speeds—including 18-wheelers. How would your commute change if those semi trucks had a lane all to themselves? Officials are taking a closer look at that possibility as we speak.
Georgia transportation officials are studying how to add semi-only lanes for truck traffic on Interstate 75 between Macon and Atlanta's southern suburbs.
The truck-only lanes are among nearly a dozen major transportation initiatives Gov. Nathan Deal announced earlier this year.
According to Georgia DOT Planning Director Jay Roberts, the goals of these new lanes would be to reduce congestion and improve safety by separating the big rigs from cars and motorcycles.
What’s your take? Would you rather cruise in a truck-free lane? Or do you think we’re better off with lanes open to all vehicles?
(You know, trucks or no trucks, those lanes could get a lot less crowded if more of us shared the ride to and from work. Learn how you can get paid to make the switch from driving alone!)
It’s National Bike to Work Week, and road warriors all over metro Atlanta have jumped in the saddle on their way to work. But if an entire week is a bit daunting, how about trying it for just a day? Friday is National Bike to Work Day, and you can hop into a group ride with Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff.
From the AJC:
Dimitroff will ride a loop beginning and ending at the Georgia Dome, covering approximately 12 miles through downtown Atlanta.
The ride will start at 7:30 a.m. at Falcons Landing between the Georgia Dome and Phillips Arena on Andrew Young International Boulevard. Dimitroff will lead the route along with members of the Falcons front office and local cyclists.
If you’d like to join in the group ride, click here to register.
Dimitroff has participated in Bike to Work Day each year since 2012.
We gotta admit, we’re big fans of Dimitroff for his commitment to making our city a better place to ride. In addition to hosting this group ride, he also took on the final leg of the 2016 Ride on Atlanta, covering nearly 90 miles from Athens to downtown to raise funds and awareness for safer cycling.
(And if you’re thinking of making biking to work your regular deal, there could be cash in it for you! Learn how you can earn rewards for making the switch from driving alone.)