British Cycling urges more people to switch to two wheels for their commute

Organisation highlights health and financial benefits of riding to work

by Simon_MacMichael   March 28, 2013  

London:cyclist in traffic (copyright Simon MacMichael).jpg

British Cycling, which earlier this week launched an initiative to get 1 million more women cycling by 2020, has launched another new campaign, this time aimed at getting more people to commute by bike.

The organisation says the focus is to show people how easy it is to switch to two wheels for their commute, and cites 2011 Census figures published by the Office for National Statistics which revealed that in the previous decade there had been a 17 per cent rise in the number of people commuting by bike, with 760,000 now doing so.

The true figure will be higher once people who use a bike for part of their commute are factored in – the Census data only cover the main mode of travel, so won’t for example cover someone who rides to the station at either end but spends most of their commute on the train.

Certainly, investment in improved cycle parking at many railway stations across Britain due to the overflowing of existing facilities, more people buying folding bikes they can take on the train with them at peak hours, and patterns of use for the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme in London all suggest that cycling increasingly forms part of a longer journey. 

Health and financial benefits were also highlighted by British Cycling as being the principal reasons for people taking to a bike to get to work, with daily riding good for weight loss and improving cardiovascular health as well as helping avoid rising fuel costs and season ticket prices.

According to British Cycling, around half of its 69,000 members are regular commuters, with one recent convert to riding to work, John Clarke, saying that he saves “in excess of £2,500 per year on a train season ticket.”

British Cycling’s own chief executive, Ian Drake, highlighted another reason for commuting by bike that will be shared by anyone who rides to work.

“I always use my bike as part of my regular journey into the office as it’s a great way to clear my mind before and after a busy day,” he said.

“The drive we’ve launched today is all about showing how simple and easy bike commuting can be. People don’t need an expensive bike or to wear lycra - and cycling to work is a really efficient way of fitting some exercise into your day.

“The cost of maintaining a bike is negligible in comparison with today’s vehicle maintenance and fuel costs,” he added.

Martin Gibbs, the organisation’s Policy and Legal Affairs Director, added: “Within British Cycling, we have the support and the expertise to encourage more people to become regular commuters and incorporate cycling into their daily routine.

“In addition to the membership benefits we can offer, we are also working with the government to put cycling at the heart of transport policy as we want to see long-term, sustained planning and investment so that our towns and cities are designed with cycling in mind.

“The more people that cycle, the more pressure we are putting on the government and local authorities to initiate change.”

Tips on commuting by bike can be found on a dedicated section of the British Cycling website.

 

8 user comments

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I took up riding to work in November - it's a 39 mile round commute, and it has been an incredibly tough winter to decide to start doing it, but I couldn't imagine using another method of transport regularly. It's a lot faster than the bus/car (due to congestion in Manchester), a lot cheaper than the bus and I've lost nearly 2 stone (needed).
I can't believe more people don't do it!

A day off the bike just feels wrong now!

YorkshireMike's picture

posted by YorkshireMike [56 posts]
28th March 2013 - 11:19

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The mindset of a bike being a mode of transport as opposed to a piece of sports equipment is a lot more common on the continent.

I think if we can get a lot more people into this way of thinking, one of the spin-offs would be also more intelligent planning of cycle route infrastructure.

I cycle to my office as much as I can (struggling at the moment due to the snow). As the man said it clears your head and is not much slower than getting in my car. Plus I don't have the hassle of fighting for a parking space.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

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posted by badback [255 posts]
28th March 2013 - 12:02

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Whereabouts do you ride in from YorkshireMike?

One of my great (read: very sad) pleasures is getting home, putting the bike away and having a brew and waiting for the train that I'd have to get if I didn't ride rolling into the station. (I can see the station from my house by the way, I don't go back out or anything!)

posted by farrell [1023 posts]
28th March 2013 - 12:11

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YorkshireMike, My commute is almost identical in distance, Manchester-Birchwood round trip. Our offices are amazing, showers, drying room, repair facilities (well there was but half the tools have now been half inched). I've just started doing it fixed instead of geared to save on maintenance costs. £400 bike will be paid off in approx 3 months of avoiding the train. Spin to Win!

posted by karlowen [65 posts]
28th March 2013 - 12:17

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I ride in from Haslingden, Rossendale. I pass the bus I would otherwise have had to catch in Haslingden, then pass it again in Prestwich with a smug smile on my face! It's life's little pleasures!

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posted by YorkshireMike [56 posts]
28th March 2013 - 12:20

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karlowen wrote:
YorkshireMike, My commute is almost identical in distance, Manchester-Birchwood round trip. Our offices are amazing, showers, drying room, repair facilities (well there was but half the tools have now been half inched). I've just started doing it fixed instead of geared to save on maintenance costs. £400 bike will be paid off in approx 3 months of avoiding the train. Spin to Win!

My office isn't quite so well-equipped, but no one complains about me drying my gear out on the radiator behind my desk, and we're allowed to park bikes in the office foyer. There are enough of us who ride in to have a full repair kit between us most days anyway. I have climb the best part of 1500ft every day so going fixed isn't reeeally an option!

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posted by YorkshireMike [56 posts]
28th March 2013 - 12:23

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I've done the math time and time again, but I literally don't save more than about £100 a year by cycling to work and my car isn't particularly thirsty.

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posted by Municipal Waste [190 posts]
28th March 2013 - 20:13

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I commute to work about 18 miles a day when I don't need to have the car to move tools etc. The unexpected advantage being that my lessened dependance means that I can also enjoy my cars more as fuel economy becomes less of a consideration, when I do need to drive to work I can use my classic car and not have an economical 'daily'. I then enjoy driving more when I do and cycle as much as I can.

posted by Topcat [15 posts]
28th March 2013 - 20:38

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