I wonder how many people reading this can honestly say they enjoy their daily commute to work? Maybe it’s the train or bus, some may live close enough to make the journey by foot, but for many of us the car remains the most convenient and the cheapest form of transport. Unfortunately travelling by car during rush hour usually means traffic, and the frustration of crawling across the city, with journey times maybe double what they should be if the roads were clear.
Another option is the humble bicycle, my current choice for my daily commute across the city, and I was going to use this article to share my experiences of commuting by bike.
Hold on! Don’t go, hear me out for a couple of minutes. I’m sure a few readers have already classified me as a Cyclist, a MAMIL, lycra lout. Boooooooo.
But I’m not. I’ve got a car. It’s very useful, sometimes I’d be tempted to use the word essential. It’s just I’ve managed to persuade myself each morning to get on my bike to go to work.
My particular metaphorical journey was inspired by some friends cycling across Europe, and started on an old mountain bike, along the river to Hallow when it was sunny. I was gifted a hybrid bike which then got pinched, and finally bought my current bike using the Government’s Cycle to Work scheme, which enables a substantial discount and monthly payments. I put a rack on the bike and got some panniers to make it easier to carry stuff. A couple of colleagues cycled even when it rained, and in the winter. So, I bought a decent jacket and some lights. We asked for a drying cupboard at work.
And then a couple of years ago my employer, Aquabio, created their SHIFT scheme. For every km we cycle, they donate 2.5p to charity. It’s a small amount, but adds up. More importantly it provides a nudge to get others to give the bike a try, and ditch the car for a commute. Since SHIFT started in 2017 most of the company’s 25 staff have participated. Collectively we’ve already cycled over 95,000 kilometres.
I don’t need to churn out the other benefits to cycling, but I will. Compared to driving it’s healthier, it’s cheaper, it might be quicker, it improves congestion, air quality, and carbon emissions. So why aren’t more of us doing it? I think it’s mostly habit.
Back to the opening question, do I enjoy my commute?
I love it.
Dan Brothwell works at Aquabio, and is part of the new Bike Worcester group. For more information about SHIFT visit www.goshift.co.uk.
If you want to join Dan and give cycle commuting a try, why not get your bike ready, check out a cycle friendly route and leave the car at home on Thursday 8th August, National Cycle To Work Day. www.cycletoworkday.org Better still, encourage your work colleagues to join you.