Laura Ripper | Proofreading and copy-editing

Desk bikes – the Tour de Your House

Last Wednesday was National Fitness Day in the UK.

Keeping fit’s a doddle if you work from home, isn’t it? You start the day with yoga. Go swimming at lunchtime. On sunny days you put down your pen (or keyboard) and head to the hills for a long walk – because you’re your own boss and you can do what you want.

Hmm.

It’s not always easy to find time to exercise when you’ve got a business to run.

You might rather keep working on something you’re really enjoying. There’s only you to get the work done, so sometimes you need to keep going to meet all your deadlines. And there isn’t always enough time to go to the gym and be there to sort out [insert home repair job of your choice]. Today, for example, the plumber’s here in the morning and the electrician’s coming in the afternoon. (Stop it, romance editors, I know what you’re thinking!)

Sometimes it gets to Friday and you realise you haven’t been further than the bin since Tuesday. And then you’re working the weekend too!

Added to that, the nature of editing and proofreading is that you’re sitting down for the rest of the time, and if you believe what you read that’s slowly killing you.

And some of us just aren’t that keen on exercise – we’d rather curl up by the fire and read a book, preferably with a nice glass of vino.

So what can we do to move around more? Members of online forums have mentioned using standing desks, treadmill desks and sit-stand desks, and I’ve provided links to articles on these at the end of this post.

I don’t have room for a desk I can stand at (the ceiling is very low!), but I loved the idea of using a desk bike. A year and a half ago I decided to splash out on one – here’s how I’ve been getting on with it.

What is a desk bike?

The one I have is a DeskCycle and it looks like this.

The pedals are attached to a weighted body so they don’t move. You put the bike under your desk, sit in your chair, and away you go!

Some desk bikes – including mine – have different levels of resistance. You can make it easy to pedal or put more effort in (tip: excellent when proofreading reference lists).

There’s a digital display that tells you how many kilometres you’ve cycled.

What do you like about it?

What don’t you like about it?

There really isn’t anything I dislike about it! I love using it – it makes me feel happy – and it’s one of the best bits of office equipment I’ve bought.

I’d just like to be able to hook it up to my electricity supply so my pedalling could power my laptop.

Can you still focus while you edit?

Yes. My upper body stays still, so cycling doesn’t affect my typing or my focus on the document I’m working on. The rhythm of pedalling helps me concentrate.

Here’s a short clip of me working with the bike on a medium resistance setting. We can safely say I’m not the next Kathryn Bigelow, but I hope it shows you how it works!

Is it a good workout?

Unless you use the really high resistance settings, it’s more like a gentle walk than a session in the gym (and, let’s face it, no one wants to be sweaty at their desk). It’s more about improving wellbeing and offsetting the dangers of sitting still all day than replacing your local spinning class.

Is it right for me?

A quiet bike that has enough resistance and doesn’t move when you pedal isn’t cheap, so it’s worth thinking about whether it would suit you.

Which one’s best for me?

If you fancy trying a desk bike, different models (including the DeskCycle) are available on sites like Amazon.

Check for things like:

I love mine so much I could kiss it, but I can’t compare it with those I haven’t tried. If you use a desk bike too, please let others know what you think of it by leaving a comment.

Happy cycling! I’d love to know how you get on.

More about alternatives

Standing desks

Editor Katharine O’Moore-Klopf (KOK Edit) reviews her custom-made sit-stand desk: Why I’m a convert to standing at work

Editor Melanie Thompson on her Veridesk CubeCorner, which you can use on top of an ordinary desk: Standing up for editing

Reviews.com compares four standing desks: The best standing desk

Treadmill desks

BBC reporter Peter Bowes tries one out: Treadmill desks: How practical are they?