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 Rachel from Cardiff to see how her commute has changed her life.
CS: Where in the UK are you?
Rachel: I live in sunny Cardiff, Wales.
CS: What was your main motivation for getting a bike through Cyclescheme?
Rachel: I was cycling to work on a hand-me-down bike but really wanted a better quality bike. I couldn't afford one at the time, and Cyclescheme provided a good discount on a good bike and the ability to pay throughout the year. I actually started the Cyclescheme programme at my work - now 5 people have signed up!
CS: What bike did you get and why?
Rachel: I got a Trek 7.3 FX WSD. It's a hybrid bike that's light weight but sturdy. At first I was afraid the little tyres wouldn't be able to handle muddy paths but actually it has as much grip as I ever need. I also kitted it out with a pannier rack and a stylish bag I use to carry my things to and from work. The bike handles great and can get some good speeds, but is not daunting like I thought a road bike might be.
CS: How much did you spend with your Cyclescheme certificate?
Rachel: I spent £650 total. With that I bought the bike, fully kitted with lights and mud guards and a pannier rack and bag. I also bought a mega-good lock!
CS: How often do you commute to work by bike?
Rachel: I commute every day - rain or shine. I don't drive so bike is my only transport.
CS: Where do you commute from and to?
Rachel: My Commute is only 3 miles - but it's through a fairly traffic dense part of town so every now and then I can beat cars for about 2 miles of it! Feels good on a sunny day when everyone is in traffic and I'm zipping alongside them.
CS: How has cycling affected your daily life - do you feel healthier? Have you saved money?
Rachel: I am definitely healthier - and distances feel shorter. I used to hesitate to cycle to town, which was only 3 miles away. Now I'll cycle 5 or 6 miles without thinking about it much. I'm also much more comfortable on a bike and interested in biking as a hobby, I recently finished a 300 mile cycle around Belgium. Mostly I like cycling because every time we have cake in the office I gladly have a piece, and know that I'll be working it off on the bicycle later!
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.