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Just a person, on a bike…

May 9, 2018

This May it’s been 7 years, and roughly 25,000 miles, since I started using a bike to get to and from work daily.

To the prospect of ‘cycling to work once a week?’, I recall adamantly thinking ‘never in a month of Sundays!‘ – it was seriously not an option. However, after a month or so I found myself riding to work and back daily.

Mindsets have changed since 2011 (sadly the cycle infrastructure has not!). You can see posts, from my dalliances with ‘the media’ to Bike Books here: https://julesprichards.wordpress.com/bike/

Back in 2011, my primary aim was to save money, and get some exercise – little did I know then how it also ‘might’ change the way you see the world. I thought I’d just relook at some figures.

I initially commuted 7 miles each way, then for a year I did 10 miles, now I am back to 8 miles each way. Below is an update to my previous ‘Commute’ costs post.

Current 2018 fuel costs:
Driving ~8 miles @ 7.5mpl, £1.26p/litre, costs £1.35 each way, that’s £13.50/week.

You can read about a previous buscarbike experience and costs here: Commute

So simply on fuel, I’m saving us ~£13.50/week.
That’s 39 weeks x £15 = £526/year.

Yes, I know I’m lucky to be able to ride a bike to work, yes there are some jobs where it’s not possible, but there are a lot of jobs where IT IS POSSIBLE!  You may recall, when it was initially suggested that I could cycle to work once a week, my response was ‘never in a month of Sundays!‘ – it was seriously not an option!  The idea was simply crazy!

(i) I’d get wet and cold and be a gibbering wreck when I got to work.
(ii) I really don’t fancy the ride home after a day at work.
(iii) It’s too far.
(iv) It would take too long.
(v) The traffic would be a nightmare.
(vi) I like my radio in the car.
(vii) There’s always a reason why not to…

It may take a while to chage habits and routines but after a few months cycling daily, I found…
(i) Buzzing! and ‘up for it’ when I get to work. (The weather is not an issue if the right clothing’s worn, and inclement weather is much less frequent than you think!).
(ii) Take it from me, surprisingly the ride home is a great tonic!
(iii) It’s not as far as you think.
(iv) At an average rush-hour, by bike’s not much more than by car.
(v) Don’t be part of the traffic! 94% of my commute is OFF main roads!

(vi) Radio* in one ear on the bike is fine (low volume). and ride off-road where possible.  (*BBCRadio3 AM, BBCRadio6 PM)
(vii) Eliminate the negative, accentuate the positive…

It has taken me years to rediscover, there’s a lot to unlearn, perspectives change and the world becomes quite a different place.

I am not a follower of the sport of cycling, worthy though it is. Just as an average driver is probably not a follower of Rallying or Formula 1, exciting though they are. I am not a lycra lover. I don’t (anymore) try to beat my time! I don’t think you should have to “dress like a cyclist” to ride a bike – practical ‘normal’ clothes can be found to suit most purposes. It’s just riding a bike to get from a to b.

The simple act of riding a bike is good for so many reasons – personally, socially, mentally, physically, community, interaction, pace, progress, ambition… all can be fed by a new way (an old way) of experiencing things.

Perhaps think again, and perhaps cycle again?

You can read my previous Celebration of Cycling post here.

You can see my bike related posts here: bike

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One Comment
  1. Sophie Hebden permalink
    May 9, 2018 11:44 pm

    I agree cycling is the same speed as driving. It takes me 25 minutes either way. I liked your calculation of savings. Mine isn’t so simple, as some weeks I drive on one or two days, but I probably save us £200/year. And I gain sanity – hate sitting in traffic!

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