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 Gaye from Sheffield.
CS: Where in the UK are you?
Gaye: Sheffield, South Yorkshire (That city in the North that's built on 7 hills!)
CS:What was your main motivation for getting a bike through Cyclescheme?
Gaye: To enable me to drop my little girl at school and still arrive at work on time! I work at the local uni and although they are really good at offering flexible working I was still worried that by only having half hour to get to work public transport wasn't going to get me there on time, however as long as I avoid playground chatter with other parents I can get to work in 20 mins and still have time to change into work wear in the disabled toilets!!
Oh yeah and it enables me to have a daily workout routine that doesn't impact on my family and also does my bit for the environment. Since biking I've realised that it doesn't matter what shape, size, age you are cycling can be open to all. I've met little old ladies on their basket bikes, paramedics cycling 50+ miles a day saving lives, no one should make excuses as to why they can't keep fit or get on a bike.
CS: What bike did you get and why?
Gaye: I umm'd and ahh'd about what type... mountain, hybrid, road. The majority of my friends use mountain bikes, but my husband had a road bike and thought it would be nice to get the same so that we could ride out together sometimes. I also thought a road bike may help get me up these huge hills that I have to ride up on my way home from work! So I went for a Giant Defy Ladies road one. This decision was made easier when I visited the local bike shop as they offered advice on what would suit my needs.
CS: How much did you spend with your Cyclescheme certificate?
Gaye: I got one in the sale for about £700 plus accessories.
CS: How often do you commute to work by bike?
Gaye: Everyday no matter what the weather, I love the feeling of freedom it gives me, plus it encourages my 7 year old little girl to jump on her bike to school too. Hopefully be people seeing that riding to school/work is easy and stressfree others may be encouraged to give it a try too.
CS: Where do you commute from and to?
Gaye: I commute from my little girls school in Stannington to the city centre, sticking to the main roads (but avoiding the tram tracks) to get to work in the quickest time, however my return journey home differs as I am lucky enough to live on the outskirts of Sheffield close to green belt and the peak disctrict so time and child care permitting I usually return home through the suberbs out to Mayfield Valley/Lodgemoor/Rivelin.
CS: How has cycling affected your daily life - do you feel healthier? Have you saved money?
Gaye: Yes I have saved money and become even healthier, but more importantly it has also inspired me to spread the word about how cycling can make a huge difference to your life. Since joining the Cycle to Work scheme I have completed my Level 1 coaching with British Cycling and am hoping to hold some Go-Ride sessions at our local sports centre and have also become a Breeze Leaders backed by British Cycling so I take led rides each month in traffic free environments to try and encourage all women to try cycling, and to make sure it is inclusive for everyone. We welcome children on the rides too.
Gaye (far right) enjoying a bike ride with friends
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.