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How Can We Get Britain Cycling?

Posted in General Health 16 Jun, 2015

Back in the day everyone used to cycle. Cars were an expensive luxury, so you rode your bike with a basket on the front. We were probably healthier then than we are now. But back then they didn't have heavy volumes of traffic, not everyone had a job that started at 9am and our weather was arguably more stable.

What needs to happen to get Britain cycling again? National Cycling Charity CTC believe that 44% of us have a bike, but not all 44% of us are riding it very often. Bike Week 2015 is on from 13th - 21st June and the campaign is trying hard to pull us out from behind our seat belts with some initiatives.

The benefits of cycling are obvious, but I'll list them anyway.

It boosts your health - with the UK's waistline expanding year on year, cycling is a great way to lose weight and look hot in suspenders - those bum muscles get a fantastic work out, so I'm told. You'll also reduce your chances of heart disease, diabetes and all those obesity-related illnesses. Research also shows that cycling improves your sex life, and those men that have more orgasms live longer.

It supports the environment - Mother Earth is choking to death, she's got terrible asthma brought on by us driving everywhere and burning fossil fuels. Perhaps when we've used up all the gas and oil, bicycling will be the only way to get around, so might as well get in the habit now!

So how to get us in the saddle if the promise of a better sex life isn't quite enough?

Infrastructure and Safety

It's not that safe riding a bike, there are lots of aggressive drivers out there (cough, BMW man). It's no wonder people don't want to venture out. We need more and safer fixed bike lanes to feel secure.

The Dutch are on to a good thing. They have a strict liability law whereby the most powerful road user is liable for the accident unless proved other wise. This means drivers are prosecuted for hitting cyclists.

Practicalities of Work

In 2011 only 2.8% of the working population biked to work. Employers need to provide lockers, showers and secure bike parks for their employees. You can't cycle in a skirt, your hair will be ruined and that's just when it's sunny, imagine the wind-battered soaked mess you'll be in winter. Some employers offer 'cycle to work' schemes that help you buy a bike for a fraction of the cost, which is a good start but more is needed.

Bike Clubs

Go Sky Ride is one initiative that's trying to get cyclists together. After all, it's safer in a group and a great social hobby too. Have a look for cycling buddies if you're tempted to ride but worried about going it alone.

Cycling in Britain is a vicious circle, a stoat chasing its own backside. We need more people to cycle so the pressure is on government to make it safer, yet no-one will cycle because it's perceived to be dangerous.

Car manufacturers must be laughing themselves stupid.

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