November 30th 2011
We are a nation obsessed with our motors; a country built for cars, with motorways, byways, dual carriage-ways, and all the roads in-between buzzing with petrol heads, school mums, truckers and many other kinds of road users. It's quite obvious that nowadays if you want to go somewhere, you're probably going to need to learn to drive. But as I fast approach the age of 30, having never subscribed to the motor-vehicular method of travel, I face a real dilemma.
Question is: Do I join the bandwagon of Fiestas, Corsas and Fiats zooming and zipping around, or do I keep on pedalling?
You see, I'm a cyclist through and through and it’s hard to shake off that smug feeling of self superiority, so let me try and explain why:
Upon joining Marketecture, I faced a problem; how do I get into work? I live in Stockport and it cost me a whopping thirty quid to travel in a taxi for my final interview. Public transport links are lacking – there’s no train station nearby, and it would take me two buses, and roughly an hour and thirty minutes by public transport. Luckily I discovered there was the Manchester Cycle path, a disused rail line converted to a path, spanning Debdale park in Reddish, right through to Chorlton. Ideal for a pleasant and scenic route into work…brilliant!
Ever since then, come rain, shine, snow, wind or thunderstorm, from pitch black to sunrise, I've been pedalling, panting, and pushing my bike down this well worn route, and I wouldn't want to change it for anything. I've watched the seasons change before my eyes - I've seen glorious sunrises and spring blooms, misty mornings and crunchy white snowscapes. No, I've not been stuck in a traffic jam, counting the seconds ‘til the next green light, or cursing at the silver BMW that's just cut me up. True, I may not enjoy the luxury of a warm and quiet interior, but there's something intoxicating about being exposed to the elements in all their extremities and glory. I'm probably going to learn to drive anyway - for longer trips, convenience and pure independence, the car is pretty much a necessity, but on a day like today, when the air is crisp, and the journey into work effortless and pleasant, I wouldn't swap my ride into work for anything.
A few facts about my cycle route: It's roughly 10 miles each way. I've been working at Marketecture for 15 months now, so I've travelled approximately 5250miles. That’s the same distance it takes to travel to either Los Angeles or Khatmandu! It costs me roughly £500 per year to service / maintain my bike (that’s about 9% of the cost of running the average car - which RAC reckons now costs a whopping £5,869 per year). It keeps me fit, I don't need to worry about spending countless hours pounding the treadmill, or dancing like a fool at Zumba or aerobics classes. The journey has saved our atmosphere around 1600kg of CO2, and countless other nasty emissions cars and buses give off.
I may give you a glib smirk as I filter past your turbo-charged 4x4 on the inside lane, but what I'm really thinking is "I wish more people would cycle to work, its actually quite fun".
We are currently looking into Marketecture signing up for the cycle to work scheme, you can find more info @ www.cyclescheme.co.uk
See you on the roads (and paths), and stay safe!