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 Shane from Preston.
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 Shane from Preston.
CS: Where in the UK are you?
Shane: I'm based in Preston, Lancashire.
CS: What was your main motivation for getting a bike through Cyclescheme?
Shane: I'd started to cycle to improve my fitness and the oppurtunity to replace my ageing bike with a new one through Cyclescheme was too good to miss. A few of my colleagues had already encouraged our Company to participate in the scheme so all the hard work had been done. I just needed to sign up! I'm now on my second bike as I my original purchase is really well used and needed some serious TLC!
CS: What bike did you get and why?
Shane: I got a Fondriest Meo Box which is a road bike but with straight handle bars. It was a really lightweight frame and a comfortable geometry for long distance touring as well as commuting. I did consider a mountain bike but they were too complicated and heavy. My normal riding is on road so the need for suspension and off road tyres wasn't there. Drop handles bars were a thought but I do like the horizontal bars - except when riding into a headwind - which I do often! After 6000 miles I've worn most of it out so have replaced the complete gear train and rear hub. It's such a good bike though it's been worth the expense.
CS: How much did you spend with your Cyclescheme certificate?
Shane: I just bought the bike at £899.
CS: How often do you commute to work by bike?
Shane: I try and cycle 3 times a week in the Winter but business trips or really bad weather does get in the way. I've bought a good pair of lights so keep up my commuting all year round. I use the bike at least 6 times per week so even ride when not commuting to work. In the summer I hope to cycle every day.
CS: Where do you commute from and to?
Shane: I commute from my home in Hesketh Bank to my office in the center of Preston. It's a 22 mile round trip. Much of it is on cycleways at the side of the main roads but perhaps 30% is alongside car drivers. I generally find motorists are fairly respectful of cyclists in this area. I've also noticed a lot more commuters using bikes. There's nothing more satisfying on a commute than undertaking all those cars queued up on gridlocked roads!
CS: How has cycling affected your daily life - do you feel healthier? Have you saved money?
Shane: Both. Since I've started cycling I've lost around 5 stone in weight. I feel better all round - improved stamina, more energy and more dynamic. I also save a fortune on fuel with petrol prices being so high. We have around 20% of our workforce on the bike to work scheme and many of us regularly cycle to work. We've all lost weight and I feel the whole Company has benefitted.