I live in the D.C. area, which arguably is one of the most bike-friendly cities in America. When I started my new job last year, a full 4.5 miles away, it only made sense to start biking to work. Driving into the city is out of the question and taking the metro is either slow or life-threatening. Overall, bike commuting has been life-changing for me.
Honest moment: I wasn’t the best rider before. I could get around on a bike just fine, and could punch it for a race, but never had the endurance or speed I wanted. In the past few years, I’ve been averaging 15-16mph during triathlons. Not nearly as fast as I’d like to be. I’m not the best swimmer, and I’m a slow runner, so the bike leg has to be my saving grace!
Now, after a year of bike commuting to work, my legs are stronger and can suffer for longer. I had my first training race of the season this past Sunday, and I felt STRONG on the bike. Strong both physically and mentally. There was no internal monologue of whining. There wasn’t a moment of weakness. And my bike split was 2mph faster than the first time I did this race, two years ago. Now, 2mph isn’t that great of an increase, but it is truly only from biking to work. I haven’t changed much else about my training plan in the last year. I’m not spending hours on the trainer, I’m not getting out for extra long rides on the weekends (not yet). It is purely from changing my mode of transportation.
So, in summation, bike commuting is great for you. If you change nothing else, it should net you a 2mph increase!