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 Claire.
Each month we feature one Cyclescheme participant and share their commuting story. We 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 scour the country for the real cycle commuters who take to their bike each morning. 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 Claire to see how her commute has changed her life.
CS: Where in the UK are you?
I’m in the North East of England – just north of Newcastle upon Tyne.
CS: What was your main motivation for getting a bike through Cyclescheme?
I bought my first bike through Cyclescheme 9 years ago. I’d recently joined a new company and a few of my colleagues were planning on doing the Coast to Coast route that summer – it seemed like a good idea to get a bike, (try) to get fit, and join them!
CS: What bike did you get and why?
The first bike I bought was a fairly low cost Giant hybrid. I visited my local bike shop and talked to them about where I was going to ride and what would be best for the terrain I would be covering. However, since then I have purchased another three bikes through Cyclescheme – a mountain bike, a road bike, and I’ve upgraded to another hybrid!
CS: How much did you spend with your Cyclescheme Certificate?
My first bike was £350 and I also bought a helmet, some cycling-specific clothing, a carrier and a set of lights – all of which could be added to the certificate and the cost spread over 12 months. My subsequent three bikes have been a bit more expensive each time.
CS: How often do you commute to work by bike?
At least three times a week, depending on when I need my car for work meetings or events. The weather doesn’t bother me either - the only thing which stops me is icy conditions, but thankfully the last couple of winters have been pretty mild and so I haven’t missed many days. My work colleagues are used to seeing me arriving in all sorts of outfits and in varying states of mudiness.
CS: Where do you commute from and to?
Although my house and office are only 4 miles apart, I never cycle just that distance – I always do a bit extra at both ends of the day. And with the range of bikes I have, I can do whatever type of ride takes my fancy! There is a great network of tracks and waggonways for me to use my mountain bike on and I can get virtually door to door off road. The roads of Northumberland are pretty quiet and I love going out early in the morning in summer – it has been known for me to cycle over 30 miles before getting to the office on a sunny day!
CS: How has cycling affected your daily life - do you feel healthier? Have you saved money?
Cycling has had a huge impact on my life. I feel physically – and mentally – so much more healthy and I’ve certainly saved a lot of money over the years! As well as belonging to a couple of cycling clubs, I am also a guide for an organisation which helps adults get back into cycling. We run supported rides every Wednesday evening and Sunday day time, as well as organising long distance cycling challenges for groups. So my original aim of getting a bike to do the C2C has really come full circle and I usually end up doing a coast to coast ride about six times a year, in one way or another!