On yer bike…
Last week I wandered over to my local bike shop to buy a few new inner tubes. As I waited in the socially distanced queue, I marvelled that the racks were empty of any bike costing less than £2k (ie everything ‘normal’) had sold out. As I enjoy the freedom of the ‘unlimited exercise’ phase of the UK lockdown, there are more people on bikes than I’ve ever seen in this area outside organised events. Many of these are obviously beginners, some on suspiciously expensive steeds (if you’re riding 60mm deep section carbon rims, you should really be going faster than me…)
And it is great that the Government and Councils are promoting ‘pop-up’ cycle lanes to provide safe space for all these newbies to encourage them to keep using two wheels rather than four. With more funding promised in the summer for permanent routes, we could be on the cusp of something big.
Here are the benefits of high levels of cycling:
- Reduced carbon emissions
- Improved air quality
- Reduced road fatalities
- Improved public health (including mental health)
- Reduced inequalities (including health inequalities)
- Stronger local economies/neighbourhood services
- More convivial, lower traffic neighbourhoods
And the downsides? Can’t think of any, although for some reason a certain demographic seems to get apoplectic when they see someone on two wheels.
All organisations can help promote this transition by providing secure cycle storage (no 1 priority), showers, lockers etc for people commuting under their own steam. Other measures include taking part in a cycle to work scheme (which subsidises purchases), providing mechanism and providing/lobbying for safe cycle access to sites.
Be part of the revolution!