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 Heather.
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: email@example.com with "I'm in' in the subject line.
This month we caught up with Heather to see how her commute has changed her life.
CS: Where in the UK are you?
Heather: I live in Tavistock, West Devon on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. I work for small consultancy firm that specialises in Engineering Geology and Geotechnical Engineering.
CS: What was your main motivation for getting a bike through Cyclescheme?
Heather: I was training for my second half marathon when I badly sprained my ankle. To help with my rehabilitation and keep my fitness up I borrowed my mum’s bike. Even when my ankle was better and I was back on the road running I still found myself wanting to jump on the bike, so I decided to ask my employer (who is also a keen cyclist) about getting my own set of wheels through the cycle to work scheme. We are only a small company (six of us all together) so I wasn’t sure if I would be eligible to sign up, lucky for me on this occasion size doesn’t matter!
CS: What bike did you get and why?
Heather: I bought a Ridgeback Element open frame in white. I took the advice of my boss and visited our local bike shop (Tavistock Cycles). I told the owner that I wanted to cycle to work on the roads but at the weekends head off to the hills to start cycling the recently completed Route 27. After identifying the type of cycling I wanted to do the hybrid was the perfect choice.
CS: How much did you spend with your Cyclescheme Certificate?
Heather: My bike was £549.00 but I decided to add few accessories, this included:- lights, pannier racks, pump, bottle holder and most important a front basket for commuting on the sunny days! I also bought a set of pannier bags for my wet weather gear (well I had to be realistic as I do live on Dartmoor) and treated myself to some padded shorts very essential for the longer weekend rides. In total I spent £849.00. One extra thing that I have bought is a pair of cycling glasses, I wouldn’t be without them now!
CS: How often do you commute to work by bike?
Heather: It does vary a bit and I must admit it was a bit less during the winter months but now the summer is on its way again I will probably cycle most days.
CS: Where do you commute from and to?
Heather: I hop on my bike and cycle pretty much downhill to work. It really is not far, just 1.5miles. Although with the lighter evenings I have started to take a 6 mile detour home across the moors because I am planning to cycle the whole of route 27 from Illfracombe to Plymouth with some girl friends to raise money for the Brest Cancer Campaign.
CS: How has cycling affected your daily life - do you feel healthier? Have you saved money?
Heather: Whenever I get on my bike I have a big grin on my face. I have become more confident when riding on busier roads and on occasions I have even used my bike to carryout site visits within the local area. I have found it really beneficial to pay by monthly instalments. It is so easy because it comes straight out of my salary so I don’t really notice it. As a little incentive I decided that every time I jump on my bike to go to work I would put £2 in a sealed money box and save it for my next cycling adventure to France!