By Lisa Rowley
It’s been nearly 18 months since I gave up my company car after leaving my job of nearly 20 years. Instead of buying another vehicle, which I didn’t necessarily need, I swapped four wheels for two – and I haven’t looked back.
I’ve always had a cycle since I was young but it wasn’t until it was my only mode of transport that I grew to love it even more.
For one thing it’s good exercise and an ideal way of keeping fit away from the gym. It also means you save money by not having to spend out on things like petrol and vehicle insurance.
Cycling gives you a sense of freedom and you are not constrained by roads. I often find myself setting off on a cycle ride not sure how far I’m going to go. It’s seen me end up as far as Birmingham – a round trip of about 35 miles. But it’s given me a view of the countryside that I may not have necessarily seen. One of my favourite routes is along canals and I love the sense of peace and calm and escapism in areas where often I am just moments from shops, factories and houses. It’s almost like a hidden world and I’m often surprised that more people don’t make use of our canal system for walks out.
Of course I do also cycle on roads and as a car driver as well can appreciate what it’s like to be on both sides. I’m a cyclist who stops at red lights but wishes that some drivers would give me a little more room when they are passing.
To me more does need to be done, especially in the Midlands to improve road infrastructures for cyclists as well, and care taken when planning new routes and changes to layouts. It’s a popular misconception that drivers pay road tax but it doesn’t really exist and we are all paying for the roads in some way.
It’s not only me that has got more involved in cycling but nowadays more and more people are being persuaded to give up their car and cycle to work instead. There are numerous schemes to choose from that offer you deals to save money when buying a bike.
Of course, it’s not all rosy with a bike and obviously there have been times when I’ve had to turn to public transport, especially in very bad weather. Cycling in the snow and ice is something I try to avoid. But if it’s raining then I just pull on my waterproofs and use my bag cover and as long as it’s all water tight then I’m ready to go.
Now I’m keen to pass on my enthusiasm and experience to others and am considering courses to learn how to teach other budding cyclists. One in particular is to become a Breeze champion. It’s a one-day course run by British Cycling designed to get more women on their bikes. We may never be as prolific cyclists as in countries such as Holland but hopefully more people can be persuaded to give a cycle a try. I’m hoping I can have a part to play in that.
J&PR are a Shropshire PR agency covering Shrewsbury, Telford, north Shropshire, south Shropshire and parts of Mid and North Wales. As well as working with businesses, organisations and events across the region on PR campaigns J&PR run regular DIY PR Training Courses and DIY Digital PR Training Courses at venues in the county.