Road Vs Off-Road Commuter Challenge | What Is The Most Fun Way To Cycle To Work?

– 99% of the time, when we’re
commuting, it’s always a rush. It’s an absolute, full-gas
effort to get home, or to work, as soon as possible. – I mean, as much as I love
to wake up really early, I do like to enjoy a relaxed
breakfast before leaving at the last possible moment
and rushing in to work. And the same in the evening. As soon as the clock strikes 5:30, I’m on my bike and racing home. So with that in mind, we’ve been thinking, does a commute have to
be something we rush? Can’t we wake up a bit earlier,
or get home a little later, and have some real fun? And I mean some real fun. – Now what I’m thinking is, Hank has suggested we try and have fun. And we’ve only got one hour to do it. So in my mind, there’s
only one way to do this, and that’s to get off-road. I do wonder, though, just
what is Hank’s interpretation of an hour of fun? Here he is. – I think the best way
to have fun in your hour on your commute is on a road bike. – [Opie] The road? – Speed, beautiful lanes, power
fitness, no question, mate. – Well, we’ll see about that. It sounds like a challenge to me. – Challenge accepted. – See you at work. – You’re off that way, I’m– – Good luck.
– Go and take a canal boat. (determined electronic music) – Right then, I have
chosen to go off-road today because I firmly believe,
if you only have one hour, you may as well spend it getting dirty and improving your technique off-road. I’m going to be taking the
canal path down to Bath. And I could take it all
the way, but I’ve been told about some great local
trails which I just feel I ought to check out on the way. (determined electronic music) – And I guess, it’s no surprise
that I’m hitting the roads. I’ve planned the route on Kamoot, to make sure I’m taking the quietest and most beautiful ones. I mean, look at it! I’m flying down here, this
grin ain’t coming off my face. – Now today I’m riding Si’s
Orbea Terra gravel bike, which he has really kindly lent
me, for a couple of reasons. I don’t have my own. But the main reason is,
he’s trying to convince me that gravel can be a lot of fun. And to be really honest, so far, I can’t deny it, he’s right. (bike chain whirring) Canal tow paths run alongside
just about all canals and rivers in the U.K., and you can ride your bike on
pretty much all of them, too. And in fact, they’re often a direct way to get between big cities, which makes them perfect
for your morning commute. Anyway, my first bit of
trails is just up there. Let’s see if I’ve still got what it takes. (excited rock music) – Speed equals fun. (cheers) Yeah, buddy! (cheers) Oh, it’s amazing! I have to say, I’m pretty
happy with this route. I’ve hardly seen any cars and
I’ve hardly really stopped. I guess I’ve only stopped
at junctions, really. Saying that, I might take a selfie. (happy electronic music) (powerful rock music) (bike chain whirring) – Whew, that was
surprisingly tough, actually, all those off-road sections. It may be a surprise to a few of you, but here in the U.K. recently, we have had a incredible amount of rain. Which means those off-road
trails have turned to slop. Not ideal for these gravel tires. Anyway, it’s all good fun. On the tow path for the
next few kilometers, so I’m going to build up some speed. I wonder how much fun Hank’s having? (powerful rock music) – On my commute, and I’m loving it! Woo! Smile on my face all day long. Look at that view, yes. (camera clicks) Right, back to the lanes. The point I’m trying to make here is you can ride however you want, As long as you got a
big smile on your face, that is the goal. So for me, it’s going hard. Well, at least on the climbs, and fast on the descent. (laughs) (powerful rock music) Not a bad view there, not a bad view. That’s where I should’ve got a selfie. (cruising electronic music) Right now, Si’s getting to Bath. Now I could take the direct
route, slightly more busy, or I could take the fun route. A few more climbs, less cars. And ultimately, in my point
of view, it’ll be funner. I hope. Opie cannot be having more fun than me. – Ha, the last real bit of off-road. (powerful rock music) – When the sun’s out, the smile’s out. (powerful rock music) I’m loving this. Especially on-board my Orbea Orca Aero. This is the bike. (powerful rock music) (cheers) (bike chain whirring) I wonder where Opie’s got to. Ah, I thought I can hear you. – Beat me to it. – How much fun did you have, mate? – That was genuinely one of the best hours I’ve had on a bike for a little while. How about you? How was your choice? – Genuinely, absolutely loved it. I had so much fun, I
don’t think this smile is going to come off
for, well, quite a while. – You definitely look
happier than you did before. – Yeah, I reckon I
could do that every day, what about you? – Every day? No, probably not every day, because I’m a little bit
dirtier than I like to be. I’ve now got to wash Si’s gravel bike, which is a bit of a pain. And it took a little bit
longer than it might have. But on the whole, maybe once
or twice a week, I think? How about you? – I’m telling you, mate, I
could do that every single day. I mean, what better way to start the day than to have a big grin on your face? – I feel like you’re making that up. Because I happen to know for a fact, you love your sleep far too much to wake up early every
day to go ride your bike. – Yeah, I’m not going to
lie, that’s quite true. So if I maybe did it once or twice a week, I’d be able to get enough sleep, but also absolutely love it
when I do get on the bike. – Yeah, fair enough, that’s kind of a good balance, isn’t it? – Right, mate. Who won? Who had the most fun? – Well, I can see how this is going to go, you’re going to argue that you did, and I’m going to argue that I did. So I think we need to
send it out to the viewers for them to decide. – Yes, let us know in the
comments section below if you prefer the– – Dirty tow path ride, or
Hank’s intense road ride. – Yeah, we would love to hear from you, so do let us know. Make sure you give this
video a big thumbs-up. – And for another commuter
video, click down there. – We better get to work. – Ugh yeah, forgot about that.
– Yeah, let’s go.

About the author


  1. i ride to work and home on the road and canal. i can blast to work in 15 min but i go at a cruise speed of barely pedalling and it takes me 25-30min, which i prefer. i don't see the point or need to blast it. surely the point of being on the bike is to enjoy the peace, love your surroundings and go where ever you want.

  2. I'd choose both! Sometimes you want to blast down the road (and yes, speed is fun) other times the variety of off road is fun. Don't understand why I have to pick one.

  3. In Americas most of the streets whether in the cities or be it the suburbs resemble the trails that Opie followed. The Gravel bike it is for me although I generally prefer the full aero roadie

  4. Road road into work, and off road ride home, comfortable commute on the road, easy for a gravel bike, off road route home, because you can get showered, and time to clean the bike whilst tea is a cookin!

  5. Off road looked fun, but I like to get to work on the cleaner side…So road would make me happyl. Off road is a perfect weekend option!

  6. No matter how you get to work, if you did it on a bike, you won. But if you ride gravel you will have more fun. Getting dirty is always great!♥️🚴👍

  7. Fun indeed! But, seriously guys, if you are going to do a 'commuting' feature at least include wearing a backpack if you don't want to fit panniers to your race machines.

  8. If I lived in a beautiful European village like you guys I would do the bike thing 7 days a week…..road or dirt. But here in the San Francisco/ bay area it's just too dangerous and too far to work… for me.

  9. my ideal commute was the one I had in Colorado Springs. Downhill to work. uphill home. No place to go offroad. There were some great bike paths though.

  10. Nice manual at 2:24. Then a track stand later, some bunny hops… Someone is a mountain bike trials rider posing as a roadie.

  11. Not a fan of pedestrian paths myself. They are safe in so far as that they lack vehicles, however cyclists traveling between 15 and 30 mph have no business on them. Pets and children can dart out and be Seriously injured if hit to say nothing of what happens to me as the rider. Also average trail users are very slow, and I'd rather be able to just spin instead of get stuck behind people. This opinion comes from a US perspective, as most of our commuter trails are defunct railroad lines that have been paved it could be very different in the UK and elsewhere. Cheers

  12. Off-roading is really fun. So, I like to mix it up on my rides and hit trails that are manageable with my road bike. A 28 mm wide tire setup is ideal for this.

  13. I commuted for one year on the Thames towpath from Kingston to Kings Cross on what they called a mountain bike in 1988 – ie a gravel bike. That was far better than going on the road – full of evil cars. Took 90 minutes each way.

  14. Absolutely – enjoy the commute. Curiously where is the backpack that you need to typically carry to/from work???

  15. Casually doing a track stand, talking and gesturing with one hand on a trail next to a canal, like you do 😮 Bravo, Chris.

  16. Vent!!!, Canal towpaths and "cyclists". Local towpath on a Saturday is full of W..k..s who shout at walkers who are out for a stroll. They think they are in the TDF. AND they have ebikes!!! to make the matter worst!!. My husband (road cyclist) walked up to a group of them and in no uncertain terms told them to get on the road. WE are both with Hank on this one, Sorry GCN.

  17. Sorry, MTB is the best commuter bike. These turds are not dressed for the real commute. Lame shits. Brits are lame. 😂

  18. I commute by bike to work nearly every day. 20 miles (32 km) each direction. Over the past two weeks I've experienced a couple of unfortunate accidents. The first time my front tire slipped in close proximity to a steel fence resulting in a bent frame. The second time my chain dropped laying me down at 18mph resulting in a compound fracture of both bones in my right forearm with one protruding protruding through my skin. Needless to say, I feel I may have lost my nerve for cycling. Do you have any advice on how to get back in the saddle after such misfortune? Long time fan, the skinny guy is my favorite…

  19. best way to the gravel or road bike is a genuine dutch oma-fiets, just for the commuting part. After getting there you can get as dirty and sweaty as you want.

  20. Growing up in South London and going to school in the centre of town, I had a 10k commute through car filled streets, smog mask, 17 sets of traffic lights and a 6 lane right to left transfer at Vauxhall Bridge during the morning rush hour. 25 years later I live on the north coast of NSW, Australia. My commute to work is a 30ks of country lanes, maybe 20 cars total, with a 5k section of state forest, gravel and overgrown 4WD track. It's bloody amazing.

  21. It would be useful if you linked to your Strava rides for this type of video. That ride in Bath looks great, and would love to give it a go when I'm next up.

  22. If your are commuting… you should really put the REAL commute into video. Beginning from the planning, what to take, what type of backpack with your lunch and clothes, the gear and stuff like that! You see GCN… this ist the kind of Videos you are now doing with no real content, just a bunch of "cool" clips riding, and lots of Ads.

  23. I've been road commuting for a couple years now, and I just picked up a gravel bike this week! I'm likely going to ride road to work, and gravel home!

  24. What was that gravel route that Opie took? Is it on his Komoot or Strava accounts? I may well steal it for a ride myself, looked fun.👍

  25. Given the amount of car traffic where I live and the poor condition of the paved roads, I prefer the gravel bike. It’s slower but I have more options in my route

  26. Great video guys!! My idea is to start having both with my new Roubaix 🙂 one set of wheels with 32 gravel tyres and other carbon wheelset for fast days with intervals

  27. When It snows here in Colorado my road commute turns into an off road one . A foot of snow makes for some good exercise.

  28. The bottom line here is at the end of the ride you arrive at work. With that said, whichever route that puts a smile on your face and a skip in your step is the best way to start your work day.

  29. Nice fun film! (But, typical British worker – on the bike at 5:30 sharp?? Try working to 5:30, please! Never mind!) I think you are both winners, though I wouldn't go off road every day – maintenance time would go thru the roof! The key to enjoyable commuting is mixing it up. I have several routes (mainly road) to and from work that I pick and choose depending on how I feel and how much time I have. We may not all have the great scenery etc that you guys obviously have around Bath, but for me getting on the bike always puts a smile on my face. At the end of the day, if you going to cycle-commute everyday, you have to enjoy it. Thanks for the fun and looking forward to more!

  30. It's nice to have the option but most places, especially cities, don't have an off-road path to work so it's either city streets or different city streets.

  31. OFF-ROAD is best: More sociable and friendlier – When cycling on-road you tend not to say hello to other pedestrians or drivers!

  32. Hey GCN, maybe you could have mentioned that pedestrians have priority on towpaths, and a bell helps too, instead of suggesting they can be treated as a private race track? I love a canal-side ride too, but there are other people to consider too…

  33. Both are nice, during the road season I use my race bike to work, during winter I use my cyclocross bike to work through the forest and gravel roads

  34. Off-road 13km each way everyday! Why breath in pollution and maneuver between cars and pedestrians when I can have fun on hills in the forest? And it always feels like coming back home from a trip and not from work. Love it 💚

  35. Great video and would love to be able to make my commute more fun. How would you suggest it for a 20 mile cross-London commute that’s already 1 1/2 hours? (Romford to White City)

  36. I know this comment may not be seen but I think a video on bicycle bells would be awesome. I have been looking for a good video on bells and there are none out there. Would be great to see what you guys recommend.

  37. It rains in the UK? I thought it was a desert. Doesn't matter how I bike to work. It's fun whatever route I take. Best way to start the work day. Best way to end the work day. Now if I could only ride during the work day.

  38. Off road wins for sure because the place that Hank took his selfie gives the impression of being off road not on pavement. Thanks for another great video!

  39. Why pick just one. Mixing it up is the way to go. Might even be a faster way to get to work which would give you more time to play.

  40. Just finished my first ever century and by the end of it I swore I did not want to hear the words "bike" or "cycling" for the next 5 days.
    And here I am now, watching GCN channel…..cycling, bloody hell…:):):):)

  41. 50 50 but… Extra .1 to Opie as a work horse and 1.9 to bring the gravel grinding… Ergo 50 52 got Opie … But knock off yourself in the road that's fun as hell Hank,🔥🔥⚡⚡🤘🏼👍🏼

  42. Like the idea of the canal path. Not the trails. Sorry Hank but going hard to work isn’t fun. Save that for the weekends.

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