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Tomorrow is National Work from Home Day in the UK. It’s an initiative of Work Wise UK, partners of which include the TUC, CBI, British Chambers of Commerce, BT and Transport for London.
According to Workwise UK, an estimated five million workers across the UK will not go into work. Hopefully, those who eschew their bike commute will go for a pleasure ride instead.
I work from home every day. My commute is from the bedroom to the home office, a distance so short even I don’t try to cycle it.
I miss the cut and thrust of daily cycle commuting. When I was a student (younger, stupider, poorer) I purposely lived 10+ miles from uni so I could train into town. When in a hurry I would wait for a bus. Not to hop on, but to draft. A bus service from Whitley Bay shoots into town via the motorway-style Coast Road at 60mph, not stopping until it reaches Jesmond, a distance of about seven miles. I’m older and wiser now, I no longer draft buses.
I prefer caravans. I drafted one near the A66 on this weekend’s Fred Whitton Challenge and I couldn’t resist taking a pull until it peeled off. I didn’t get that long a ride but it was enough to get me up to a speedy bunch. Following the fast lads is potentially as dangerous as drafting a caravan, partly because you could smash into a faller or - my biggest fear - cause the fall yourself, but mainly because you bust a gut to keep in the group. With a finishing time of 7 hours 16 minutes, I shaved 40 minutes off last years’ time so taking a pull clearly has its advantages. Mind you, as the Fred is 111 miles through the Lake District, with 14,000ft of ascending, there’s not that much opportunity for drafting.
But I digress. Back to National Work from Home Day. Work Wise UK shows what life could be like every day, if more people would only ditch their cars.
Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK said: “With fewer commuters, the roads are clearer and public transport less crowded than usual. Stress levels have fallen, pollution levels are down and CO2 emissions reduced. People are happier, have a better work-life balance and ultimately will be healthier.”
The RAC Foundation, a supporting partner of Work Wise UK, calculates that 25 million people in the UK commute to and from a fixed place of work, of which 18 million people go by car. The Eddington Report predicted that if recent trends continue, by 2025, congestion will waste around £22 billion worth of time in England alone.
You can buy a lot of bikes with £22 billion, some of them with carbon disc wheels…