Driven out of public transport by overcrowding and squalor, and out of cars by congestion, two million new cycle commuters are set to take to the roads this spring, and three times that number of new cyclists will be out on their bikes for the first time.
That’s the optimistic claim arising from new research by Cycle to Work provider Cyclescheme.co.uk.
Commuters are apparently fed up of the frustrations of public transport. Half of those surveyed admit to being frequently late for meetings due to public transport, and one in twenty say they have been pickpocketed on their way to work.
And then there’s the ick factor of cramming on to buses and trains. A quarter have had a passengers’ armpit in their face, whilst a third have smelt a stranger’s morning breath.
More seriously, surveys show as many as 30 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment on public transport, an experienced that’s especially distressing when its impossible to get away.
Cyclescheme says one in ten Brits plan to change their journey to work in some way this spring. Two million people plan to ‘spring clean their commute’ by cycling to work for the first time.
Spring is the best time to try a new activity, according to psychologist Dr Anjula Mutanda. Research shows three in four people plan to make a ‘spring resolution’ this year, rather than New Year’s.
Dr Mutanda said: “Spring signals nature’s new start and we aren’t immune from it. The physiological affect on mood as well as positive associations with spring as a time of renewal make us want to engage in something new.
“Spring is perfect for new goals like cycling to work, because there is greater synchronicity between our physical environment and our mindset.”
As administered by Cyclescheme and its partner organisations in the Cycle to Work Alliance, the Cycle to Work scheme provides a tax break of 25 to 42 percent for the purchase of a new bike and accessories.
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.