It's not often we get to hear, first-hand, how cycling to work can make a difference to your lifestyle. We all know that it's good for you and that it's environmentally responsible, but it’s always encouraging to hear a personal account from someone who has made the change from four wheels to two.
Each month we'll be featuring one Cyclescheme participant and hearing their story. We’ll ask the same seven questions (hence the name, The Cyclescheme Seven) in a bid to build up a picture of cycle commuters across the UK. From John O'Groats to Lands End we're scouring the country for the real cycle commuters who take to their bike each morning. We want to share the inspiring and, sometimes funny, stories that people have. If you'd like to feature on our website, just drop us a line on: firstname.lastname@example.org with "I'm in' in the subject line.
This month we caught up with Mark from Solihull to see how his commute has changed his life.
CS: Where in the UK are you?
Mark:I live just outside Solihull in the West Midlands
CS: What was your main motivation for getting a bike through Cyclescheme?
Mark:To get a good entry level bike with the investment being and incentive to ride it.
CS: What bike did you get and why?
Mark: I bought a Marin Belvedere Hybrid. I went into the shop and asked about entry level bikes I was shown two, one with bar ends and toe clips - the other without. So the one with won! I had also been riding as my car was being repaired from a scrape so had to get to work on an old mountain bike where 90% of the effort was wasted it seemed!
CS: How much did you spend with your Cyclescheme certificate?
Mark:About £600 altogether.
CS: How often do you commute to work by bike?
Mark:Every day that I am in the office as some days I work from home. It is now the norm for my commute, the car is an exception.
CS: Where do you commute from and to?
Mark: I cycle from my house to near Birmingham Airport – 10 miles each way. It is a nice route through the country with the last 3 miles on cycle paths (on the way there).
CS: How has cycling affected your daily life - do you feel healthier? Have you saved money?
Mark: I love rowing and have in excess of 17 million meters logged on the C2. I also used to row on the water. Initially when I started cycling I thought the rowing might stop but in fact I still row at lunchtime, I do not consider my commute as exercise – it is the way I get to work, so always row at lunchtime in the work gym as well.
We have showers and places to dry wet commuting gear which really helps. I find the ride in and back helps me prepare for the day ahead or analyse what has happened and get it out of my system before getting home. For sure I have saved money – I am now a Mamil (middle aged man in lycra) though so have spent money on clothing etc.
I had my bike in April 2011 and am planning on a higher spec road bike next April (2013) my son also has his eyes firmly fixed on the old one when I upgrade!
In the third and final video of the series, we meet keen cyclist and self-confessed 'lycra dude', Rob!
Ever wondered how your commuting experience differs to others? Each month we share the story of a real Cyclescheme cycle commuter and ask them seven questions to sum up their experience from their two-wheeled commute. This month, it's Paul.
In the second of a new series of videos, we take a closer look at some Cyclescheme commuters. This month, we meet Super Commuter, Ben.