Don't get credit crunched - get on your bike, says CTC

Cycling saves money, boosts the economy and stops you getting depressed says CTC’s Chris Peck

by Rebecca McIlhone   January 29, 2009  

Commuting in Bristol © Jonny Gawler

Broke, stressed, depressed? The answer is simple, says the CTC, get on your bike!

Not only will you save hundreds of pounds a year on petrol costs but you’ll be fitter and more productive at work, boosting the beleaguered economy and reducing the burden on the NHS.

This may all sound obvious to those already enlightened to the benefits of doing things the two-wheeled way, but now the CTC has put figures on it.

In an interview with Sky News this morning CTC policy co-ordinator Chris Peck says even if you invest in a brand new commuter bike worth around £350, you could recoup the money in as little as a month – quicker if you get your bike through the tax-saving Cycle to Work scheme.

And how does he work that out? Well, the average mileage of a car commuter is two miles one-way so cycling would save you around £2.70 per day in petrol or £600 per year.

If you’re brave enough to replace the entire average train commute of 21 miles with an invigorating bike ride, you could save around £200 per month in travel card costs. And even if you’re not, cycling to the station instead of driving could save you between £800 and £1,500 per year on parking fees.

Translated to a larger scale, if everyone in the UK converted all car journeys under five miles to cycling, we’d save a whopping £800 million!

Mr Peck told road.cc: “On an individual level you can save quite a bit but the biggest saving you can make is by the transition in your lifestyle. If one person decides to cycle to work, you could reduce your household from two cars to one. Several of our members have done that and they tell us they’re saving money and losing weight.

“A study done by Cycle England a few years ago worked out that for each person that cycles there’s a saving to society of £250 per year. That’s £50 to the NHS, because you’re healthier, and also a saving to your employer because you don’t take as many sick days. Also, cyclists live two years longer than non-cyclists.”

And if the credit crunch has already hit you and you’re out of work, getting around by bike will still save you money, and help you keep your spirits up.

“Cycling is very good for your mental health,” says Mr Peck, “and it’s much cheaper than going to the gym.”

For more information visit: www.ctc.org.uk.