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 Diane to see how her commute has changed her life.
CS: Where in the UK are you?
I live and work in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
CS: What was your main motivation for getting a bike through Cyclescheme?
I had a bike already, an old second hand one that I bought for £20 10 years ago. I’d been cycling to and from work for many years and doing a bit at the weekend too. Towards the end of 2013 a friend persuaded me to sign up for a charity bike ride in May 2014 – 180 miles over 3 days, following the Tour de France route in the Yorkshire Dales plus a bit! (the Lawrence Walker Memorial Bike Ride). I quickly realised after a few training rides that I needed a better bike. I already knew about the Cyclescheme and had in the back of my mind that one day I would do something about it, but this was the prompt I needed. So I talked to a few people who had already got a bike through the scheme and they were extremely happy with the arrangement so I took the plunge.
CS: What bike did you get and why?
I eventually went for a Merida Speeder flat barred crossover/hybrid bike. It’s a great bike but on reflection I think I would have like to have spent a bit more and gone for disc brakes and front suspension – next time! I love my bike and it’s a great bike for the type of riding I do which is mainly road, commuting to work and out at the weekends, plus the longer challenge rides. The best thing is knowing that I’ve got a reliable bike that is in good condition and performs well. It also gives me the option of going a bit off road on canal tow paths etc as long as it’s not too rough. I have bought a second hand mountain bike if I fancy a bit more serious off road activity.
CS: How much did you spend with your Cyclescheme Certificate?
I spent just over £500 and bought a number of accessories such as a set of mudguards, new helmet, lights, and a luggage rack and trunk bag which has drop down panniers – essential for my commute to work so that I can arrive and do my ‘superman in a phone box’ routine, changing into my office attire!
CS: How often do you commute to work by bike?
Every day, all year round, although I draw the line at snow, ice and gale force winds!
CS: Where do you commute from and to?
My commute is quite short (only 2.5 miles) so most days I tag a few miles on to make it last a bit longer, and take in a few hills to keep up my fitness and training for the next big ride! (and delay the inevitable day indoors). So I commute from my home in Beaumont Park into the centre of Huddersfield and back again at the end of the day – with probably a 5 to 8 mile detour at either end of the day, depending on weather and time.
CS: How has cycling affected your daily life - do you feel healthier? Have you saved money?
I feel great – it’s the only way to start the day (and end it!). Many times I am just so tempted to cycle right past the office door and keep on going. I arrive at work feeling refreshed and ready for anything (almost!). If I caught the bus to work and back each week it would cost me £15 a week. The sense of achievement from doing the long distance rides is amazing – the 2014 ride was one of the best weekends of my life – I’m doing it again this year on my Merida.
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Ever wondered how your commuting experience differs to others? We share the story of Franki, a Cyclescheme cycle commuter and ask her seven questions to sum up their experience from their two-wheeled commute.
Ever wondered how your commuting experience differs to others? We share the story of Glen, a Cyclescheme cycle commuter and ask him seven questions to sum up their experience from their two-wheeled commute.
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 Guy.