16 October 2017
National Ride2Work Day, taking place this Wednesday 18 October, is an initiative which aims to encourage more people to adopt a two-wheeled commute, solving our dual problems of lack of exercise and traffic congestion. Led by Bike SA, Ride2Work Day is an opportunity to dust the cobwebs off the bike and get your workmates motivated to do the same. Three Cancer Council SA staff share their reasons for getting behind this worthwhile cause.
Community Education Coordinator
My exercise philosophy is all about balance and focusing on the activities that I enjoy doing. At work, I’ll make time for a lunchtime walk to get out of the office, and at home I’ll walk my dog to wind down and get some fresh air.
I’m about as far as you can get from a morning person, but what gets me out of bed in the morning and onto the bike is the checklist of positives that comes with it. I save money on petrol and wear and tear of my car, it's better for the environment, it’s so good for my health and you hear it all the time, but it's also a great start to the day and I feel better mentally too—all that in exchange for leaving the car in the garage, and it only takes me 15 minutes longer to commute.
Working in the Community Education team here at Cancer Council SA, I know that the more physical activity you do, the better. Now that we have longer days and the weather is warmer, there really are no excuses.
If riding on the main roads is too daunting, then check out off-road tracks and discover a different side of Adelaide at the same time. I take a different route to work on my bike than in the car. This tool from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure lets you map your route according to your preferences.
General Manager: Marketing, Fundraising and Relationships
Riding is my way of bookending my working day. It’s a fresh start to the day, and then gives me some space to switch off. Driving home in peak hour traffic puts me on edge, but riding is very freeing.
Ride2Work Day is a fantastic initiative to not only increase the number of riders out there, but also to make a statement to politicians that the demand is here to make our community more bicycle-friendly.
As well as riding to work every day, I swim twice a week, hit the gym and make time for a longer bike ride on the weekends, so you could say I like to be kept busy. Not everyone will be able to have such a packed routine, but it’s about taking advantage of everyday opportunities to be active—taking the stairs rather than the lift, or walking to the shops rather than hopping into the car.
Buddy up. It only takes a small nudge to start a routine, and you’ll find that people will gravitate toward a group. And don’t forget to stop in to Hindmarsh Square from 7–9am for a free coffee and breakfast on Ride2Work Day thanks to Australian Bananas and Adelaide City Council, where you can meet your fellow riders.
Community Education Project Officer
It took me almost a year and a half of thinking about it to bite the bullet and start riding to work. Now, after 12 months of riding three days per week and seeing the benefits, it makes me wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.
I particularly like the impact on my mood at work, all those endorphins are coursing through me and I find I’m more energised and productive. Plus I feel smug when I get home because I know that I’ve done my exercise for the day and don’t have to scrape myself off of the couch to go to the gym.
I don’t wear lycra when I ride, and you don’t have to either! Bright coloured gym gear will do the trick.
From a cancer prevention viewpoint, exercise can have a major impact. Firstly, physical activity can directly reduce the risk of specific cancers such as bowel cancer. Secondly, by contributing to lower body mass, physical activity can help to reduce the risk of cancers associated with being obese or overweight.
Australian guidelines recommend 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, or 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity per week for good health. Cycling in particular is good for your health as it is higher intensity than walking. If your commute is 30 minutes each way, then riding to work means your exercise routine is one less thing to worry about. If you want more information about exactly how good cycling is for your health, then check out this article about a recent study.
Preparation is essential for a smooth transition into your work day. I pack a lightweight backpack with my essentials the night before and arrive at work, where I have a locker with a spare change of clothes and toiletries, 15 minutes early to shower and put on some make-up. More tips on getting ready can be found here.
National Ride2Work Day is an opportunity to not only enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, but also to cut your cancer risk. All riders should adopt SunSmart strategies when the UV is three and above, regardless of temperature or amount of cloud cover.
With 23 South Australians being diagnosed with bowel cancer every week, Cancer Council SA encourages the community to embrace the overwhelming physical and mental benefits associated with exercise—including minimising bowel cancer risk, decreasing your risk of cancers associated with being overweight, and feeling more energetic and positive.