Cyclescheme is the UK's most popular cycle to work benefit, creating more cyclists than any other provider.

Sarah Allan - South West

Sarah Allan - South West

I have Fibromyalgia, suffering widespread muscular pain and fatigue. I could no longer enjoy running or zumba, so I found myself getting depressed and gaining weight.

Last June we had a holiday to Center Parcs, hiring bikes. I fell in love with cycling.

Returning home, my local council were doing a 'borrow a bike' scheme, promoting the cyclescheme. This was my chance! I yearned to cycle to work to get fit and save money, but with a 13 mile journey each way, I was fearful. I tried an electric bike and within a week, I was cycling to work. I was getting gentle exercise that fit in with my routine and health problems, and as a working mother of a 2 & 4 year old, I was also getting relaxing 'me time.' After about 6 weeks, I ordered an electric bike of my own using Cyclescheme.

I continued to borrow a bike for 5 months until mine was finally in stock, and I took delivery of it last week. I would love to share my ongoing journey with other people, especially those who fear they are not fit enough to cycle or have concerns over any health problems/disabilities.

Challenge No1: Endura Luminite Backpack Cover Review

I was thrilled to receive this as it was totally unexpected! I can't carry a backpack due to my disability, however that did not stop me putting this cover to good use! Since I can't carry a backpack, my electric bike is fitted out with a basket and a double pannier bag at the back, to carry all my stuff for my commute to work or during leisure activities. My husband has his own backpack cover, which I have borrowed several times to put over my pannier bag to help keep it dry and make me extra visible in the dark, wet, winter months. The Endura Luminite Cover also did this job perfectly. It fit over my pannier bag perfectly and the light was right on top which would work fine whilst cycling. The cover also fit nicely over my basket, helping to keep anything in there dry during my commute. On both my pannier bag and my basket, the elastic popper attachments fit around my bike and my bag/basket fine, helping to secure the cover. I wouldn't be able to use the light on the cover if I put it on my basket, but this is not a problem, and the cover itself provides additional protection for me whether used at the front or back of my bike, due to the lovely bright yellow colour and the reflective markings. This item is a fantastic addition to any cyclists kit and is very adaptable.

Roadhawk Camera Review

My journey to work takes a pretty reliable 58 minutes, so I was a little surprised to arrive to find the camera flashing to suggest that the battery was nearly flat. Nevermind, I brought my cable with me to charge it for my journey home. I left it charging on my computer all day whilst I was out of the office, so when I then cycled and arrived home I was annoyed to find that the camera had switched off and was out of battery all together. 

I viewed my footage and whilst the picture was excellent, I was rather gutted to find you could hardly hear me speaking, especially since there was little external noise at the time of my morning commute and I had felt like a bit of an 'idiot' talking to the camera for 58 minutes each way...... I was also disappointed that only about half an hour of my home commute was even on the camera, when it should have been fully charged with plenty of room left on my memory card. I removed all the data from the memory card onto my PC to start afresh.

I tried the camera again for my next commute to work and insured it was fully charged. I had similar problems with my next commute and was surprised to find that a whole 5 minute section of my commute was missing from the memory card. I also found that during some of my commutes, the picture had interference over it. The most frustrating part, was that during one of my commutes home, I was nearly knocked off my bike by a bendy-bus in the middle of the city centre, and yet none of this was recorded on my camera although it was just 10 minutes into the start of my journey home.

I haven't had a chance to try the camera out in the rain as of yet, but I have to say that they really should make it clearer which rear cap is the waterproof one. I decided to mark it myself with a permanent pen so that I didn't get the two confused.

Then, after only a month of using my camera, I was utmost disappointed to find that upon putting on my helmet for a commute, the camera was hanging off as the sticky pad was no longer completely stuck to my helmet. When at home, my helmet hangs freely in the garage and when at work it sits on top of my locker, both away from the risk of being knocked. I was shocked that the sticky pad had given way already. If I had to spend my own money on this camera, I would be devastated if it had broken off during a commute. As a result of this, I have stopped using it for the time being. I plan to start using it again but will be waiting until I get a new helmet, which I plan to replace soon, so that I don't waste a sticky pad.

I see a lot of commuters wearing cameras, and working in the police I have started to come across a lot of cyclist submitting their camera footage to assist in investigations, which I think is fantastic. However, this particular camera has not impressed me and has been a lot of hassle. I will persist with it, and would definitely consider purchasing a different brand in the future as I love the idea of having the video evidence, should the worst happen. I would have to do a lot of research before making a future purchase, as I would be devastated if I had spent my own money on this particular camera.  

Read more on Sarah and her role as a Super Commuter here.


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