Why cycling is for me: Cycling to work from Heaton takes me half the time the bus route would, and saves me the cost of running a car. By cycling, I keep fit and don’t have to factor going to the gym into my busy week. I never have to struggle finding a parking space, frequently get to whizz past a queue of stationary traffic, and find it good for reducing stress. My ride takes me about half an hour each way and I find it great for thinking time and switching off from work, and always feel energised after it. Other cyclists are always friendly and say hello to one another – it makes for a much more pleasant commute than driving would.
Top tips: One issue can be how you arrive at work looking presentable after your ride! Don’t let this put you off though; if you wear heels pop some trainers on for the ride and change when you get there; consider a silk scarf to stop your hair getting frizzy under a helmet; have a quick spritz of deodorant; and consider leaving your non-cycling clothes at work to change into. It’s also worth investing in some good breathable waterproofs, a windproof jacket, gloves in the winter, and good lights – all of these can make your ride so much easier and you can be sure to arrive at your destination with a healthy rosy glow in your cheeks!
Sometimes, cycling a new route can be a bit daunting, and if you drive you’re likely to think of the more car-friendly routes and assume the journey would be more dangerous on a bike. Check out the local cycling maps for the best routes. My ride takes me along quiet side streets, cycle paths and parks – I’m very rarely on a busy road.
And the downsides ….. It’s not so great when the weather’s bad – but then I get the bus instead. I also do this if I’m tired!
Help and advice: I always find ‘Doctor Bike’ (the bike maintenance pop-up stand) at the Civic Centre extremely helpful if you’ve identified a problem or just want a check up – and it’s free! I also find my local bike shops (Edinburgh Cycle Co-op and City Cycle Centre – both on Shields Road) extremely helpful – whether it’s finding a suitable basket, checking the fitting of a helmet, or fixing a puncture. They are really friendly and never make you feel silly for not knowing things to do with bike maintenance. If you’re thinking of cycling to work, ask other cyclists which route they’d take, pop into a friendly bike shop, or go on web forums.