Yvonne Laird is a Research Fellow working at the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy. Here she shares her favourite things about cycling to work.
I was hauling my bike down three flights of stairs this week when I met a neighbour, who asked, “Have you got far to go?” I smiled and told her I was just going to the centre of town. She told me that she had failed at getting up early to go for a run before work every day this week and wished me an enjoyable cycle.
As I set off on my ride to work I smiled to myself. I too had failed at getting up early every day this week to go to the gym, but every day this week (and this month) I’ve without fail gotten on my bike and cycled to and from work. It’s my routine. It makes me feel amazing. Even when cars get too close – or other cyclists, or pedestrians. Even when it’s cold, or when it rains.
A big thing for me is how much money it saves me. Every week I cycle to work that’s £16 saved. Sure, there’s the original purchase of the bike, odd inner-tube to buy, or other bits of kit, but it doesn’t compare to the cost of a car or buses. It’s quicker than the bus too. I enjoy it – even the big hill in the morning. Did I mention it makes me feel amazing?
It also doesn’t even really matter that I missed the gym this morning – or every day this week – because I still showed up for my cycle to work and got my 20 minute cycle in. That’s 40 minutes each day, 5 times a week. The UK government recommends that adults be physically active for at least 150 minutes each week for good health. Well, just by cycling to work I am getting at least 200 minutes each week. It’s an easy way to do something good for your health.
Then there’s all the other things you can do when you have a bike – join a local cycling group and explore the area, take part in cycling events, or just go for leisurely cycles with friends and family over the weekends. Since I bought my bike a few years ago I’ve given mountain biking a try, cyclocross, road cycling, triathlon, and canal cycles to the local carvery.
Oh, and cycling also benefits the environment. That’s a big win for doing something good for our fine city.
I don’t have a favourite thing about cycling to work. There are so many reasons to cycle to work and so few reasons (for me) for getting the bus or driving. It’s something I’ve come to realise is something I am very fortunate to be able to do and even though my cycle route could be nicer, I hope for many more mornings pedalling my way to work. Even if they are dark, cold, windy or wet!
Tweet Yvonne at @ylaird206
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