Coach's view: Does cycle commuting really count as training?

How to make sure you're getting the most out of your two-wheeled trip to work

Cycle commuter rides drop handlebar bike in Brooklyn, NY
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the many years I've worked for Cycling Weekly, the number of times I have walked through the office door sweaty of brow and helmeted of hair are too many to count. My cycle commute has varied across numerous house and office moves from three miles to ten times that amount – from little more than a super-sprint traffic-light hurdle, to a morning march over Box Hill that would take two hours-plus. 

The training effects have been undoubtedly as varied as the routes themselves – sometimes useful, sometimes not so useful. But is commuting even 'real' riding? After all, Strava even has a check-box enabling riders to mark out their commutes, as if they're somehow not the equal of the rest of what we do.

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After cutting his teeth on local and national newspapers, James began at Cycling Weekly as a sub-editor in 2000 when the current office was literally all fields. 

Eventually becoming chief sub-editor, in 2016 he switched to the job of full-time writer, and covers news, racing and features.

A lifelong cyclist and cycling fan, James's racing days (and most of his fitness) are now behind him. But he still rides regularly, both on the road and on the gravelly stuff.