Reducing personal carbon emissions is not the only benefit of jumping on a bike to get to work. Recent research by Bicycle Network and Reid Cycles shows you’ll also probably arrive at work happier, more energised and ready to be more productive.

The Great Australian Commuter Experiment surveyed 4500 Australian commuters from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Darwin, Perth and Adelaide.

Commuters were asked to compare the costs, time and general feeling of using either their car, public transport or a bike to get to work.

The researchers found that only 12 per cent of people driving to work and only 15 per cent of public transport users arrived at work feeling positive and focused. In every city except for Canberra, more than 80 per cent of people that either drove or caught public transport said they arrived at work feeling tired.

By comparison, cyclists reported an overall 88 per cent satisfaction rating. Canberra had the highest proportion reporting they arrived at work feeling optimistic, motivated and energised, followed closely by Perth commuters.

The results also showed that riding a bike every day is the most economical choice, with annual costs averaging $72 a year for bike maintenance. By comparison, public transport users average $1286 a year for fares, and drivers fork out an average of over $2600 a year for fuel and parking.

Brisbane had the highest daily public transport costs, and Melbourne the highest costs for drivers.

In terms of time, commuting by car turned out to be the quickest, with people averaging a 25-minute drive for a 14 kilometre trip, but cycling was only slightly slower, averaging 30 minutes for the same distance. Public transport took the longest time in every city except for Darwin.

Bicycle Network general manager of behaviour change Tess Allaway said the results showed riding your bike was the best way to get to work.

“Riding a bike to and from work is one of the best ways to save money, get fit and active, reduce stress, beat the traffic and even have a bit of fun along the way,” Ms Allaway said.

The research was released to coincide with national Ride2Work Day, happening on Wednesday.

Ms Allaway said that following last year’s event, nearly half of those who tried the commute by bike for the first time were now doing so every day.


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  1. Riding bikes is a good mode of transport however downside is riding in bad weather, rain, wind etc. Personally I don’t ride in bad weather conditions

  2. Agree with the article, but one thing important message is that ‘cycling is very good health wise unless you get hit by a car’

  3. Running costs for a year $72?? Seems low. A service a year would easily be that. Punctures? replacing chain and cable as required? Tyres?

  4. It may be that people who cycle to work are naturally positive happy people, rather than cycling making them that way.
    Having said that, I too chuckle to work most days, 32km each way. It takes about the same time as a good run on public transport, is slower than driving in the morning but fastest in the afternoon. In all it is a much happier and healthier (no one couging and sneezing on me) option.

  5. I totally agree! I used to have an hour each way journey by bike (almost exactly the same by car or public transport door to door) and always felt much more energised and productive those days. Employers should do more to incentivize cycling to work – they’ll get a more productive employee out of it!