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 Dave.
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 Dave to see how his commute has changed his life.
CS: Where in the UK are you?
Dave: Fife, just north of Edinburgh, across the Forth. Its a commuter town, built in the mid 60's and growing as more families move out of Edinburgh escaping the high house prices. Its not flat and has an interesting topology, with lots of small hills to ride up.
CS: What was your main motivation for getting a bike through Cyclescheme?
Dave: I bought the bike through cycle to work as I could pay for it and not notice the money as it never arrived in my account.The saving, and also the ability to spread the cost over a longer time also appealed. The money I save from not taking the bus or train easily covers the cost of the bike, and now I'm on my second year - extending the rental through cycle to work, I now save even more!
CS: What bike did you get and why?
Dave: My current cycle to work bike is my main winter bike. It's a cyclocross which is fun to ride, takes large studded tyres for icy days and has a rack to carry my clothes etc. I have a tourer but wanted something to handle the country park tracks I'm fortunate enough to be able to cycle in on, and in winter these tracks can get icy, along with cycle paths. Also as a cyclocross it has disc brakes, an early trendsetter so was perfect as it can cycle through the wet conditions with no problems braking, as the discs tend to stay dryer longer.
CS: How much did you spend with your Cyclescheme certificate?
Dave: The maximum of £1000. The basic bike was £900 and I upgraded the forks from steel to carbon for the extra £100. I upgraded the brakes myself. I already owned other cycling equipment, so could spend it all on the bike.
CS: How often do you commute to work by bike?
Dave: My commute is 19 miles each way, and at first I used to cycle 1 way each day. Then upped to 3 days a week both ways. This year I found a friend who cycles 5 days a week so I decided to do that too. Its been easyier than I thought, especially as I was already cycling 3 days a week. This base mileage cycling means I don't have to spend money on Gym membership (another saving) and my hobby (Audax cycling) requires a reasonable fitness and my commute gives me this without extra motivation to get out and train in winter.
CS: Where do you commute from and to?
Dave: Living in Fife and working in the centre of Edinburgh, I cross the Forth Road Bridge everyday, twice. Its a brilliant ride following the much of the route 75 coastal cycle path. This gives spectacular views all through the year. Edinburgh has miles of disused railway lines, now converted into cycle paths, which allows me to get from home to work only cycling on 2 semi busy roads, door to door. The vast majority on quiet roads or dedicated cycle paths.
CS: How has cycling affected your daily life - do you feel healthier? Have you saved money?
Dave: My life has changed immeasureably. I've lost ~3 stone, got fitter than I have been since my late teens, found loads of new cycling freinds, and save a packet! My life before cycling to work was one of a 40 minute drive each way every day, sat behind a steering wheel or a desk for much of the day. Now I bypass the traffic jams, taking in the views and air. I've a new hobby (Audax) which takes me all over the country - most of it by bike! (not just driving there). I also no longer spend lots of money on a car servicing or public transport. Yes cycling lots does wear out cycle components, but these are nowhere near the costs incured servicing a car or taking the train or bus!