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 Tony from Wiltshire to see how his commute has changed his life.
CS: Where in the UK are you?
Tony: I am originally from Morecambe in Lancashire, but now live in Calne, Wiltshire.
CS: What was your main motivation for getting a bike through Cyclescheme?
Tony: My main motivation for getting a bike through Cyclescheme was initially the rising price of fuel (my daily commute is 30 miles). I was spending approximately £140.00 per month on diesel and was conscious that fuel prices were rocketing. Coupled with the fact that I was gradually gaining weight due to the lack of excercise as I reached my mid-forties, I saw the Cyclescheme poster at work and did the maths...
I weighed up the positives against the negatives and to be honest it was a "no-brainer". Taking into account the cost of the new cycle I worked out that I would technically receive a free bike and an extra hundres pound plus every month just by making the effort!
CS: What bike did you get and why?
Tony: Having had no previous cycling experience since my teens, I was unsure which bike would be suitable for me. Having consulted colleagues at work and trying to purchase as versatile cycle as possible, I opted for a hybrid. I didn't want to start with a really expensive bike as I didn't know how I would take to cycling after all those years. I therefore started with a Falcon Subway that cost a little under £200.00 coupled with the necessary accessories - helmet, lock, jacket and lights I spent £280.00 on my first Certificate.
After 12 months I opted to retain my hybrid cycle and entered into the Extended Use Agreement. I wanted to keep my options open if I wanted to cycle "off road" at the weekends. I then requested another Certificate as I was now aware which bike was more appropriate for my specific needs. I decided to get a dedicated road bike and opted for a Claud Butler Echelon. It cost £550.00 but the difference in performance was amazing. I cut 12 minutes off my jourey time due to the lightness of the bike.
CS: How much did you spend with your Cyclescheme certificate?
Tony:£280.00 on my first bike, £550.00 on the second.
CS: How often do you commute to work by bike?
Tony: I try to commute to work every single day. Initially I used to drive half way into work, park the car and then cycle the rest of the way. As my stamina levels increased I lengethend my journey. After approximately three months, I reached the point where if I didn't cycle, I would feel really bad. Sometimes the weather has made it quite interesting. I cycle in one morning early this year when the temperature hite minus 10!
CS: Where do you commute from and to?
Tony:I live in Calne, Wiltshire and commute to a village called Erlestoke where I work. It's a round trip of 30 miles. If I drove it would take me half an hour each way. I can cycle the journey in about 50 minutes now. As an addedd incentive I never overlook the fact that driving in and returning would cost me £5.00 in the car every day!
CS: How has cycling affected your daily life - do you feel healthier? Have you saved money?
Tony: Cycling for me has been a revelation. I have loads more energy these days and tend to be up and about much earlier than previously. I don't recall being off work with any ailments since I began cycling and I have lost nearly 2 stones in weight. Taking into accoung the money I have saved, I have recently purchased my wife a bike too. Also, I am now nearer a 32" waist from a 36".
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.