Flip the pages of the Bike to Work Book

Here’s the latest, revised version of the Bike to Work Book. It’s now a 50 pager, with some minor revisions to the text and two new pages at the back with bike quotes from famous folks.

The e-book is now a page-flipping beauty!

Click on full screen, scroll around, zoom in and out, select just certain pages to forward or Twitter/Digg/Reddit about.

Because this page-flipping version of the sampler is so gorgeous I’ve decided to make the full, 250+ page e-book into a free publication. The print book will still be available on Amazon etc but will also be available to download gratis. This will get the book seen by lots more people and – paradoxically – should not harm sales of the print version. If anything, it should actually help the sales of the ‘real world’ version. But, it’s a risk.

Please forward the new rendering of the sampler to any folks you think might be ripe for conversion to bike to workers. Here’s a shortened version of the URL: http://tinyurl.com/Bike2Work

The docstoc and scribd version of the book will soon be updated with the current version of the sampler. To date, the book has been viewed nearly 4500 times on docstoc so – in book terms – it’s already a best-seller!

Barack surrounds himself with bike commuters

James L. Jones, National Security Advisor and bike commuter

No need to send James L. Jones a copy of my Bike to Work Book, he’s already one of us.

The former US Supreme Allied Commander Europe (2003-2006) has just been made the President-elect’s national security adviser.

Here’s what the retired marine general told military newspaper ‘Stars and Stripes’ about his favoured choice of work transport:

“[Commuting by bicycle is] an absolutely essential part of my day. It’s mind-clearing, invigorating. I get to go out and pedal through the countryside in the early morning hours, and see life come back and rejuvenate every day as the sun is coming out.”

Click on the box in the right-hand corner of this embed to make it bigger and then use the magnify tool to zoom in to the text:

Bike to Work Book Sampler

Get your own at Scribd or explore others:

Long-dead rock band resurrects bike couriers

I thought email had killed the bike courier? Not so. It’s the 1980s all over again as Guns N Roses use bike couriers to rush long-awaited new album to select music retailers.

Cars, buses and taxis get bunged up on Oxford Street – the most obvious candidate for pedestrianisation in the world – but bikes will always get through.

According the NME, 100 cycle couriers swarmed London last night to deliver copies of the band’s first record in 15 years.


There’s a double page spread in the Bike to Work Book which documents how bikes will always beat cars in rush-hour traffic. View the online PDF here. Combined with an earlier version, it’s already had 2000 views. The sampler can also be downloaded automagically via my iTunes podcast feed thingy.

Somebody tell TomTom it’s quicker by bike


Thanks to all those who have made suggestions to improve the Bike to Work Book PDF sampler. The updated, peer-reviewed, feel-free-to-link-to-it, pass-it-to-your-friends version will be online soon. Sign up for a notification update here.

I’m doing some revisions of my own, too. Such as updating the section on average car speeds in congested city centres. The book currently has a stat from Citroen which claims that average car speeds in London are as low as 7 mph in peak periods. This is from a press release Citroen published in 2006.

However, that was a guestimate. SatNav systems can now send real speed data to central hubs. For instance, US traffic information company INRIX says that on the Cross-Bronx Expressway in New York, cars average 9 mph.


TomTom – not to be confused with Tom Vanderbilt – has a system called IQ Routes which “puts the driving experience of millions of TomTom users into your maps, calculating your route based on actual speeds driven on roads compared to speed limits….As a result, TomTom now has a huge database, containing billions of miles of real customer driving experience, collected over the years from more than 7 million TomTom users.”

The TomTom website says:

“We all know traffic is different during a Monday morning rush hour from a lazy Sunday afternoon. We all want the best shortcuts to bring us to our destination in the fastest way possible. But heavy traffic, speed bumps, traffic lights, roundabouts and even schoolchildren or shopping crowds can slow you down.”

Even schoolchildren? Even? I’d like to think drivers automatically slow down when near hazards to their paintwork such as schoolchildren but, of course, most don’t and need all sorts of whizzbangs to civilise their behaviour.

Anyway, back to average speeds. The TomTom website uses an example of a London route, 9.2kms, from Commercial Road to Gloucester Terrace. Even at “a relatively quiet time, and without any hold-ups” this short trip will take a motorist 20 minutes. That’s an average speed of just 17mph.

Remember, that’s without hold-ups (children daring to cross the road perhaps?) and outside of rush hours.

Using actual data from thousands of TomTom users in London, the IQ Routes database ignores the shortest route and takes motorists on a longer but quicker route. The 10.2km journey is estimated to take 26 minutes. Add in a couple of minutes to account for less than optimum traffic light changes and that’s an average speed of 13mph.

And a motorist travelling the TomTom route would also be paying the £8 congestion charge. Not factored into the TomTom equation is the time taken to find a parking space at the end of the journey.

However, TomTom is pleased as punch that it can save you three minutes over other satnav routers:

“3 minutes may not sound much, but it’s over 10% off your journey time. Just consider for a moment how much time that will save you over a whole year… Exactly!”

An average cyclist on a standard bike, wearing a suit, can travel in London at 15mph without breaking into a sweat, with no congestion charge fee, no downtime to find a parking space.

Stuff TomTom, use a bike, just consider for a moment how much time that will save you over a whole year. Exactly!

Bike to Work Book sampler

Here it is, at long last, the PDF sampler for the Bike to Work Book.

It still needs a few more tweaks before it can be let loose on the world. Feel free to examine it at your leisure, and let me know if it meets with your approval. Right now, it’s lo-res. When I burn the real PDF the images will be saved in greater quality.

Bike to Work Book beta PDF – Get more Business Documents

You can browse the PDF in the docstoc.com version above (click full screen for the best reading experience) or you can click here to go to a download page.

I’d appreciate comments on this first draft, especially if there are any ‘Britishisms’ I’ve not expunged. This version of the sampler is the US version. Future versions will be localized/localised.

Could you please answer some bike commute questions?

Seven people have been kind enough to read through the first chapter of the Bike to Work Book. Their excellent feedback has been taken on board and many changes made to the text. It’s now ready for ‘placing on the page’ and the PDF book extract will be ready for early next week. Want notification when it goes live? Sign up here.

The next stage is to get a whole load of real life anecdotes from experienced and not-so-experienced bike commuters. So, if you’re real, alive and ride a bike to work, I’d really appreciate answers to the following questions. I’ll include as many as possible in the book. UPDATE: I’ve had 50+ excellent responses. Thanks to all those who took the time to answer the questions below. The ‘real life’ sections of the book are now full!

If you think I’ve missed off an important question or two, please add it in the comments section below for all to see.





Job title, and company if you want:

Months or years commuting by bike:

Bike make:

Is it fully equipped? (ie lights, rack, fenders?)

Distance ridden to work:

Distance ridden from work:

Why do you commute by bike:

What do you do when the weather is bad?

What facilities does your workplace provide for bike commuters?

What facilities does your workplace NOT provide for bike commuters, and you’d like ’em to?

On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is least important and 10 is most important) how important is it to have showers at your workplace?

As a rough percentage, how many people bike commute at your workplace?

Has this increased/decreased this year?

Have you noticed more people, in recent months, taking an interest in maybe starting to cycle to work?

If you have, do you think this is mostly health-related, gas price-related or carbon footprint related? (If all three at once, which is the most important)?

How much of your route to work is off-highway, perhaps on cyclepaths or similar?

Do you take direct road routes to work, almost the same route you’d drive, or do you take a very different route?

Which is quickest transport mode to get you to work: car, bike, public transit?

Do you cycle all the way or use a car or train or bus part of the way?

How ‘cycle friendly’ is your town or city? Is it getting friendlier?

If you’re married or have a significant other, does your spouse/partner ride a bike to work? If not, why not?

In addition to miles to and from work, roughly how many additional ‘work miles’ do you do by bike, flitting from meetings or on errands?

If a co-worker, who’s never cycled to work before, asked for you the most important advice on starting, what would you say?

Rain causes gridlock so on wet days take the bike, not the car

Wet bike tyres

It’s wet today. And it got me thinking. Rain is not the enemy many would-be cyclists assume it to be.

I’m finessing the intro text for the soon-to-be-published PDF extract of the Bike to Work Book. This sample chapter contains all of the great reasons to start cycling to work and it also lists 24 excuses for not cycling to work. You know the sort of thing: “I’ll get sweaty…I need to carry lots of stuff…I don’t want to wear Lycra…It’s too dangerous on the roads…” and so on.

Another key reason many give is keeping warm and dry. Of course, we know riding in the rain can be fun, and there are ways and means of weather-proofing our bike commute, but would-be cyclists don’t believe our zipped-up zealotry holds water.

So, this morning I’ve added a bit of text about the benefits of cycling to work in the rain and found a research paper to back up my thesis.

EXCUSE: “Rain! I hate getting wet!”
Unless you live in Seattle or Manchester, it rains a lot less times per year than you might imagine. In the UK – supposed to be a rain-sodden isle – when you cycle a daily ten mile journey, statistics say you will only have rain once in every one hundred trips. That is three to four trips a year on a daily basis.

Anyway, with modern waterproof and breathable fabrics, it’s possible to arrive at your destination in comfort. Yes, even in Seattle or Manchester. You think Denmark is dry? It rains a lot there, but cycle journeys in Copenhagen still account for 40 percent of the total.

Even if you travelled by car you might have to go outside at some point, risking a soaking, especially as you won’t be wearing the right kit.

If the weather is truly foul, make that your non-bike day.

But don’t be surprised when your definition of what makes for a foul day shifts over time. You may find you start to invest in all-weather cycling kit just so you don’t have non-bike days.

One of the reasons for this is getting to work on time: a downtown downpour can cause gridlock. The roads are slippier for cyclists, too (don’t ride on wet draincovers) but cyclists can beat the jams caused by rain.

According to ‘Factors Affecting Fatal Road Crash Trends’ by the Australian ministry of transport, there are far fewer road deaths on rainy days. The report puts this down to slower car speeds. In the wet, cities grind to a halt.

So, instead of jumping in the car when the heavens open, it’s paradoxically faster to stick with the bike.

Wet bike handlebar

Want to make sure you get the link to the PDF extract of the book on the very second it’s published? Type your email address into the box on BiketoWorkBook.com.