On your bike

On your bike

Cycling to work cuts your risk of getting cancer and heart disease by almost half, according to experts. Here, commuter cyclists tackle five common reasons for not getting into the saddle.

First you need a decent bike. Then there's the helmet, lock, lights, shorts - the list of costly cycling essentials goes on.

Nicole Causey, a lawyer from Shirley in Hampshire, recommends using a cycle to work scheme to avoid paying upfront.

"It was only when the law firm I work for brought in a scheme that I considered getting a bike," she said.

On your bike

Miss Causey, 30, rides 3.7 miles (6km) to her office in Southampton, and has done for a few months.


"Before then, I hadn't ridden since I was a teenager," she said. "It's been a really positive and unexpected change."

Cycle to Work schemes give employees the opportunity to spend up to ?1,000 on a new bicycle and equipment like cycle helmets, pumps and bells.

It is paid back through the worker's salary, saving on tax, typically over a period of 12 to 18 months.

If your workplace isn't signed up, ask them to consider taking part.

Or, think about purchasing a second-hand bike.

"You don't need expensive gear," Miss Causey says.

The number of cyclist deaths on UK roads is falling, yet there is a perception that cycling is dangerous.

Campaigners from the London Cycling Campaign recently called to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians after a number of deaths on the capital's roads.

Across the UK, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured fell by 3% to 3,390 in the year to March 2016, according to the Department for Transport.

Nervous cyclists can avoid busy roads by using traffic-free national cycle routes or cycle lanes.

Local authorities often publish their own cyclist-specific maps - here is one from Greater Manchester. Transport for London also has a guide to navigating the capital's streets by bike.

But not everyone has the option of a traffic-free route.

Miss Causey admits that "it was a bit daunting at first" to ride on main roads and contend with rush-hour traffic.

"Someone I work with took me for a few cycles so I could build my confidence, now I actually look forward to going on my bike," she says.

Chilly winter rides and wet and windy weather are enough to get you reaching for the car keys or travel card.

But Sam Barker, a deputy magazine editor from south London, says he's spent five winters commuting to his office five miles (8km) away.

"I cycle to work every day in the winter," he says. "It can seem pretty unappealing when it's dark and when the weather is bad."

On your bike

He suggests mudguards, decent lights and warm clothing to take the chill out of wintry commutes.

"After a few minutes of riding I've warmed up anyway and don't feel the cold.

"What makes it worth it for me is that I love riding my bike, it helps me relax before and after work and if I can do it all year round then I will."



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