Cycling chit chat

A highly unscientific report on cycling in Seville

Flamenco, oranges and sunshine are usually the first things that spring to mind when Seville is mentioned, with cycling infrastructure last place on the list of sights. After all, junctions and bollards aren’t everyone’s idea of a good time. However, when you say the word “Seville” to a bunch of cycle campaigners, the chat on bike lanes comes thick and fast.

Seville is well-known for its investment in segregated cycling infrastructure and is considered a poster-child for cities with little on offer when it comes to cycling provision. With this in hand, myself and some fellow campaigners decided it was the perfect place to visit in order to see what Scotland could do on the active travel front with more investment. Of course, it is also sunny and warm, and for us four Scotland-based campaigners the UV rays and non-sub-zero temperatures were arguably more of a selling point than the blissful cycling.

Four intrepid and sun-starved cycle campaigners bask in the sunshine and enjoy the glow of stress-free cycling

About ten years ago the local government bunged in 120km of separated cycling routes in Seville and the city hasn’t cycled backwards since, with modal share rocketing up from less than 1% to over 6% of all journeys in little over five years. So what was cycling in Seville like?

Pretty easy and enjoyable, as it turned out. Seville isn’t hilly, but it is tarmac-meltingly hot (summers routinely hit over 40C) so it’s a wonder I managed any cycling at all what with the extended bouts of sun cream slathering on every visible part of my body.

Despite the scorching heat everyday cycling is the done thing here, with people on bikes a regular sight. High vis and body armour, helmets and the like are a non-entity because people riding rarely have to interact with traffic, if at all.

The infrastructure is far from perfect, but it gets the job done. This is something to be mindful of – as campaigners we should obviously strive for Dutch-style best practice when it comes to cycle infrastructure design in our local communities, but the practicalities of less-than-amazing segregated infra do encourage more people to get cycling for everyday journeys. Separation from traffic is key, alongside direct routes that take people to places they actually want to visit.

It’s fair to note that our visit was hardly a rigorous examination of the infrastructure on offer so my thoughts are really only impressions and takeaways from cycling about for several days (they do make orange wine in Seville and it’s sunny, so forgive us for our lax scientific attention to detail).

We encountered lots of tight bends, trees literally in the middle of the cycle lane, longish waits at traffic lights and tight squeezes due to the narrowness of the two-way lanes. The old and beautiful city centre was devoid of any decent cycling infra at all. But a lot of people were cycling, so the sometimes ropey provision has succeeded in the task at hand.

Where Seville seems to have chickened out is the reallocation of road space away from vehicles and over to people who walk and cycle. By and large, the bike routes had been squeezed onto existing pedestrian footways, with absolutely massive roads left untouched. This did really bug me, as I don’t think walking  should be compromised for cycling.

There is apparently a reason why this happened, with political tos and fros and an eventual compromise in the form of bike lanes being given the green light as long as they didn’t encroach on cars’ space. So motorist worship is still well embedded in Andalusia and it seems that more work needs to be done on Seville’s space reallocation, despite the clear evidence of an impressive modal shift to cycling.

This is just a bit crap for all concerned, but somehow it still works. See massive road space left untouched, obviously.

With these gripes aired, I can still absolutely 100% state that everyday cycling was far, far superior to anything in Scotland to date. The connected nature of the infrastructure was vital with a proper network within densely populated areas of the city, it was completely separate from traffic, it was clearly visible to ensure as little pedestrian conflict as possible despite the squeezes, it was used by people on all kinds of bikes, it was kept well away from tramlines and crossed them at appropriate angles, was mostly well surfaced and was completely stress-free and easy to use. So that’s a win in my book.

Cycling is splendidly relaxed when there’s no traffic to contend with

Using a bike to get around is, in my view, the most civilised and sensible way to get from A to B in dense urban areas. It’s difficult to articulate just how relaxed and enjoyable it was to explore the city by bike without tangling in traffic; the sights, smells and sounds of Seville made the ride from A to B even more fun and there was no stress or hassle at all.

Infrastructure means people cycling can look like actual human beings wearing actual normal clothes

After seeing Seville’s successes first-hand, the need for more investment in Scotland to make cycling a real option for people is even clearer for me. On a trip to the Netherlands last year I visited a cycling utopia with 40 years’ head start on Scotland. But Seville is much, much closer to where we are now, and the gains it has seen from cycling investment have been evidenced through various studies and actual proper science and that.

So cheers Seville, it was a great trip and an eye-opener to what my home nation could achieve in a short space of time. Let’s drink to a future cycle-friendly Scotland 🙂

Marmalade wine makes cycling infrastructure chat even MORE fun. ¡Salud!

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Spending the day cycling in Clackmannanshire

Summer seems to be slipping through my fingers, and with its slide there is an accompanying mild panic that I am not fitting in enough exploration of Scotland on two wheels while the weather is playing fair. Thankfully, I am not the only person currently experiencing this sensation, and so to that end my pal Suzanne and I hatched a plan to spend a weekend in the Highlands cycling. Sadly, as time is wont to do, it disappeared in typical fashion and we found we didn’t have enough of it to plan a few nights away with the pair of us and her adorable mini-cyclist. So instead we decided to go to Clackmannanshire on a day adventure!

The Ochil hills of Clacks looking particularly lovely

The Ochil hills of Clacks looking  lovely. That high-quality stretch of path is also pretty glorious.

I have to admit, Clackmannanshire didn’t really inspire much in me when we initially decided to pay it a visit by bike. Suzanne was keen to explore the cycling in the local authority as it was considered a good bet for wee legs and little bikes as there is a decent network of shared use paths and cycle-friendly roads around the area. It’s a small local authority, so it’s relatively easy to connect to places by bike.

The Clackmannanshire network at a glance

The Clackmannanshire network at a glance. You may need to zoom in to see it, though!

After the familiar fight on the Scotrail train from Waverley, whereby four grown ups attempted to squeeze four and a half bikes into a space that comfortably takes two (whilst simultaneously receiving glares and a telling off from the guard), we made a tight connection at Stirling and alighted, slightly frazzled but in one piece, at Alloa.

Our adventure began with various squints at the map and spots of the Sustrans blue signs that highlighted our way around the cycle network. We took the NCN 768 to Alva, which was almost entirely on wide and well maintained shared use paths. When we hit Tillicoultry I almost felt like i was in the Netherlands, as there was a fully segregated path running parallel to the busy A91 into Alva. Of course, with no tangling in traffic the cycle journey was stress free and highly enjoyable for all concerned.

Other than jelly babies, this infrastructure makes cycling with a four year old a doddle.

Other than jelly babies, this infrastructure makes cycling with a four year old a doddle.

I learned a fair bit cycling with a little one. As I don’t have sprogs of my own, cycling with a child provides a whole other bucket of considerations that sit outside of a solo rider’s thought processes. For example, our route included small sections on rural road and even though they were quiet and non-threatening I still had nerves about the mini-adventurer and traffic. With two of us to tag-team with the little guy everything went without a hitch, but it was a good way for me to learn more about cycling with kids.

Gear like the follow-me tagalong is impressive and means everyone can enjoy the amazing activity of cycling

Gear like the follow-me tagalong is impressive and means everyone (including mini-cyclists with tired legs) can enjoy the amazing activity of cycling

One of the best things about the day was our relaxed pace. Family-paced cycling has a lot to be said for itself. You literally stop and smell the flowers. You point out the animals, plants and people you see as you tootle along. There is lots of discussion about treats and sweeties and cakes, and it all just fits so wonderfully together that it feels like the most natural way possible to travel.

Sharing the cycle path with a child unfurls so many bonuses to a bike trip.

Sharing the cycle path with a child unfurls so many bonuses to a bike trip.

Of course, our day trip wasn’t 100% idyllic. There were annoying barriers and dismounts, and we encountered such a ridiculous irony on the on-road cycle route that I had to stop and snap the silliness of it. A car complete with two bikes taped to its rear was parked over the cycle lane on the road in Clackmannan. Normally this would be a minor inconvenience for me, but when you have a tiny person with you the flaws in infrastructure and resulting behaviours of people take on a whole new colour.

Oh the irony of a bunch of bikes blocking the on-road cycle path.

Oh the irony of a bunch of bikes parked over the on-road cycle route.

After this ironic encounter, we took the NCN 764 to Dunfermline, a route almost wholly on disused railway line and complete with abandoned brickworks. The route stretched for something like 12 miles on the old railway and we encountered other cyclists and walkers enjoying the day.

#brickworks #clackmannan #oldruins #instascotland #clackmannanshire #chimney #abandonded #abandonedscotland

A post shared by Brian Allan (@brianallan7) on

 

Upon reaching Dunfermline, the map came back into force and we struggled our way through the town. It always confuses me that cycling routes are so grimly signposted in urban areas, but so easy to follow in the sticks. You’d think it would be the other way around, right? After negotiating a gyratory-type roundabout and blender-esque junctions in the town, complete with bizarre breadcrumb-style painted bikes on the ground, we made it into the park and finally train station.  Huzzah!

Clacks offers some spectacularly good cycling.

Clacks offers some spectacularly good cycling.

I would just like to say bravo to Clackmannanshire Council for maintaining such a good shared path network. Sure, it’s not perfect, but Suzanne, the mini-cyclist and I managed 32 miles of almost pristine cycling and I think that’s a pretty good effort. Quite a few of Scotland’s local authorities could take a leaf out of Clacks’ book with their cycling provision.

I highly recommend a visit, especially if you have a family. Clacks is easily accessible by train, well connected with paths and in my experience was flat and easy to ride. Plus, it’s really pretty!

What to do when the world is imploding

Even people who have been living under rocks have heard about the steaming broth of self-inflected doom us Brits have ladled upon ourselves in the last few days.

It’s difficult for me to articulate the dismay and sadness I felt upon Brexit.  Along with 75% of Edinburgh’s residents, I voted to remain as part of the EU on Thursday and woke up first thing on Friday to news I did not want to hear.

So, in an attempt to remember that the world is still turning and that life is still good, I went cycling with friends in Dumfries and Galloway at the weekend.

Even on a dark day the sun shines and reminds us that life is good

On a dark day the sun shines and reminds us that everything will be ok when we’re on a bike ride.

And indeed, a bike ride with friends was the tonic I needed. It was Sally’s not-my-birthday ride and over the course of the day we explored some of the beautiful and chronically underappreciated cycling opportunities that Dumfries and Galloway offers.

Hill climbing is a good way to get EU despair out your system and replace it with clean and refreshing gulps of air.

I hadn’t appreciated the scale of Dumfries and Galloway. When you look at it on the map at the foot of Scotland, it doesn’t really register that this particular foot has the shoe size of Sasquatch. It’s very big, indeed. Fellow bike rider Rhian told me that the local authority is around the size of Northern Ireland.

Rural cycling at its best.

Rural cycling at its best.

Not surprisingly, D&G voted to remain part of the EU on Thursday. This was due in part, I’m sure, to the agricultural industry that is part and parcel of rural living. Us cyclists had the farmers to be thankful for, too. With so many small access roads and a network with practically no traffic, riding a bike in this area was an absolute delight.

Wide open spaces to explore on two wheels. What a delight.

Wide open spaces to explore on two wheels. A changing landscape from hilly moorland with lochs to patchwork fields, farmland and dense woods.

 

Woodland riding, with plenty chat thrown into the mix

Woodland riding, with plenty chat thrown into the mix.

I was tickled by Sally’s apologies for the weight of traffic on some of the “busier” roads. By Edinburgh’s choked car standards, the “busy” roads around Dumfries felt like idylls. I figure there needs to be a convertor for traffic levels from rural to urban areas 🙂

We did around 48 miles over the course of the day. We stopped for lunch, tea and cake and various photo opportunities to appreciate the landscape and nature. I’ve been getting more into birds recently, so Sally named some of the common ones for me so I’ll know for the future. We spotted wagtails, bullfinches, wrens, curlews, swallows, larks and an enormous buzzard that took a fright and ensuing flight right in front of us as we tootled past.

We also spotted a storybook hare with ears that looked like they’d been dipped in dark chocolate. There was a fair bit of accidental bug-eating, too. One kamikaze fly took to bullseyeing itself in poor Suzanne’s peeper and, when she extracted it, the blimmin’ thing was the size of a raisin.

Looking from the top to the bottom

Looking from the top of the hill to the bottom

My ride around Dumfries and Galloway made me feel very happy on a weekend where many people around the UK were feeling the exact opposite. A humble bike ride can cure many ills, as these smiling faces demonstrate. I had a wonderful time experiencing a part of Scotland I’d never visited before. I came away from my weekend knowing that life’s simple pleasures can refocus the mind. Even the sporadic and heavy rain showers felt positive and life affirming.

Bikes are happiness machines.

Bikes are happiness machines.

 

Joyful selfies

Joyful selfies. Thanks to Suzanne for this snap.

I will absolutely have to return to the area with my bike. It’s exciting to think of all the beautiful places I’ve still to find on two wheels.

We're just little things in a big world and there's still a lot to see. Thanks again to Suzanne for this amazing photo.

We’re just little things in a big world and there’s still a lot to see. Thanks to Suzanne for this amazing photo.

So, despite all the madness, it’s important to remember that we are alive and can choose to be happy. Get on your bike, go for a ride to a place you’ve never been before, eat cake and be with friends and remember that things can still be very good indeed 🙂

Welcome to the Women’s Cycle Forum Scotland

Women’s cycling is growing, diverse and inspiring. Why then does the mainstream media (and many people I chat with) lump women into one homogeneous group? Why do we see so many all male panels dominating the cycling conversation? Why is it that women are considered secondary and unimportant when it comes to cycle sport? Why are we constantly talked about but not really listened to?

Female voices are too often not heard, despite there being a plentiful supply of amazing, articulate and talented women that work and volunteer within cycling or are actively involved within the cycling community. The Women’s Cycle Forum Scotland aims to change the status quo and demonstrate the diverse and incredible talent, leadership, opinions and experiences of women who ride bikes.

Now officially launched as a membership organisation, I’d urge you to join WCFS. All are welcome – we only want our members to share our objectives as an organisation. Basically, if you think women need more representation within cycling and want to contribute to that, here’s the joining info. I am a member of the committee along with a brilliant bunch of ladies and look forward to helping to further progress women’s cycling in Scotland.

We had an amazing launch event as part of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling last night. Lee Craigie and Jools Walker were our keynote speakers, providing a snapshot of exactly the kinds of diversity the Forum wants to highlight within women’s cycling.

Lee Craigie on her very recent MTB time trial adventure on the Highland Trail 550.

Lee Craigie is the founder of The Adventure Syndicate and all round inspiring lady. You can read more about her adventures, work and successes here. She talked about how women make excellent endurance athletes, yet we are badly under-represented within endurance events and sport. She brought her epic Shand MTB to the event – there’s surely no better mascot for women’s cycling than a mucky, laden bike-packed MTB 🙂

Jools Walker, aka Lady Velo, is a cycle chic blogger from London. She got back into cycling in 2010 after a 10 year hiatus and hasn’t looked back since. She champions the accessibility of cycling in all its forms and made sure to impress upon the attendees of the launch that there were plenty of people who told her she “wouldn’t like” fixed gear riding, or road riding, or riding clipped in. But hey, guess what – she didn’t listen to the naysayers. There is no prescribed way to be or ride your bike – women on bikes are awesome regardless.

Fangirling to the max with Jools

I’ve been following Jools’ adventures for quite some time on Instagram, so was super duper chuffed to meet her and get a chat in the pub afterwards 🙂

Both Lee and Jools are clearly passionate about women’s cycling, and that enthusiasm at the launch event definitely ignited ideas, plans and aspirations.

So let’s keep up the momentum. Come and join us! We are still in the early stages as an official organisation so are looking to firm up events, activities and opportunities. We are very keen to hear from people that would like to get involved, share skills and peer mentor each other. Hope to hear from you 🙂

For more on the WCFS launch, check out this Storify.

 

 

11 things I’ve noticed as a female bike commuter

I originally wrote this blog post for the Edinburgh Bike Coop blog 🙂 

Here’s to the daily cycle commute. Not only is it fast, cheap, healthy and efficient, but the more I’ve commuted the more I’ve noticed about my daily trip to and from work. Here’s a starter for ten. Or eleven…

1. Runny noses are rife

Short of shoving two tampons up yer schnoz, there’s no getting away from the runny nose. I’m not the only one that suffers from an overactive proboscis when on a bike, but unlike some other bicycle commuters it’s not the done thing to shoot a snot-goblin out an offending nostril on the way to work. Rather than playing bogie target practice, a classic three-ply tissue does the job of cleaning the old olfactory pipes upon reaching the final destination, thank you very much.

2. We commuters have fabulous pins

X5oc0LK

One time a pal of mine prodded my thigh in a non-sexy way and I was met with slightly horrified squeals when they discovered just how strong my legs are. I’m still not sure why they were a tiny bit repulsed that I have regularly-used muscles and as a consequence don’t feel like a human-shaped marshmallow. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be a woman and have physical strength without looking like the Hulk. I love my strong legs and I have my cycle commute to thank for them.

3. Eating is a championship sport

We cycle commuters have evolved into highly effective human dustbins. Colleagues provide me with leftover food and I unashamedly hoover it up, I’m the first in the kitchen when free scran is announced and I can put away pies like Desperate Dan. Conventional societal expectations around women and appetite can kiss my steely buns. Whilst I eat whatever’s in the fridge, obviously.

4. Your behind becomes bomb-proof

fRQ1k

I dread to think how guys get on with all that stuff wobbling around down below when it comes to saddle comfort. But for us women commuters, the lack of wibbly bits doesn’t make it any less trying to find a saddle that doesn’t feel like a cheese cutter wedged up your arse. Thankfully, my saddle and I were friends from the start, although it still takes a wee while to break your bum in and have a happy toosh-related commute.

5. Flexibility goes out the window

funny-yoga-460

The bike commute does wonders for physical health and mental wellbeing – it’s practically a miracle pill. But all that repetitive muscular motion means that without proper stretching I’ve become about as flexible as receptionist at a doctor’s surgery or a ticket on a Ryanair flight. Must. Stetch. More.

6. People don’t realise I ride a bike

I get this a lot. Folk are constantly surprised when I rock up on a bike but don’t look sporty. This is not just a commuter thing; it applies to work, meetings, events and social situations. Work and casual clothes perform perfectly well for cycling short journeys. It’s great to hop on a bike without looking like the world’s slowest and least aerodynamic Tour-De-France competitor.

7. Some guys play leapfrog

This is a common observation from women the world over and is definitely a guy thing (sorry, chaps). Some blokes take serious umbrage when a lady cyclist pootles past them of a morning. The testosterone-tinged red mist descends and soon a daft game of bicycle leapfrog ensues. I usually chuckle when a dude I overtook 15 seconds ago regails me with his bum crack while heaving himself back into another short-lived stretch in pole position.

8. The weather now poses no obstacle

Prior to the bike commute, mildly inclement weather was not a friend. A light dusting of rain would have been misery and umbrella-inducing. A stiff breeze would see moaning levels crank up to 11. Chilly temperatures were enough to turn me into the Michelin man. No longer. Aside from events like Hurricane Bawbag, most Scottish weather is now considered to be practically tropical.

9. Bike mechanics are no longer terrifying

ikea-fail-chair-girl

By bike mechanics, I don’t mean the people that toil away with spanners all day. The bike mechanics I know are hardly terrifying; they’re very lovely and like a natter and a cup of tea with a good biscuit and that’s about as scary as a box of kittens. By bike mechanics, I mean tinkering. Although I still have mostly no clue, after three years of cycle commuting I can fix a puncture, adjust brakes and re-align gears and that makes me feel epic.

10. I am independent and awesome

As well as epic basic bike mechanic skills, my daily bike commute is 40 minutes of self-powered freedom and independence. I can go wherever I want, whenever I want without getting irritated about bus timetables, spare change, petrol stops, traffic jams or that guy behind me in the queue who just sneezed on my hair. Much like a less grisled version of Bear Grylls, I am reliant on nobody and no thing. Except my awesome bike. And very occasionally a bike mechanic with previously mentioned nice cup of tea and biscuit.

11. There aren’t that many women that cycle to work

Despite the fact that cycling is cheap, quick and arguably better than a chip butty or crisp sandwich, the number of female bike commuters remains woefully low. Anecdotal counting on my morning commute usually brings up 3 or 4 guys to every woman, which reflects gender stats on UK cycling generally. Last I checked, there’s no requirement to have a set of tackle between your legs to take to two wheels, so the fact that 50% of the population is vastly under-represented when it comes to cycling is something to be, well, tackled.

Encouraging new bike riders with the Edinburgh Cycle Challenge

I’ve been a very busy bee recently. For the next few months I’m project managing the Love To Ride Edinburgh Cycle Challenge, a three week cycling event from 1 – 21 March funded by City of Edinburgh Council.

The aim of the game is to encourage new and occasional cyclists to get on their bike, log rides via the website or app, and win some great prizes in the process. Of course, regular cyclists are more than welcome to get involved, too.

If you live or work in Edinburgh, all you need to do is:

  1. Register yourself (and workplace) for free on the website: www.lovetoride.net/edinburgh
  2. Encourage colleagues and friends to take part.
  3. Ride a bike anywhere for 10 minutes or more between 1 – 21 March, log the ride online and win some great prizes.
  4.  Workplaces across Edinburgh compete on leaderboards to get the most people on bikes!

It’s really easy to get involved and offers a range of benefits for individuals as well as employers. A ten minute bike ride is accessible to most people, and even if participants don’t have a bike they can borrow one and enjoy a short trip somewhere they feel comfortable. Plus, it’s all about participation and not distance – cycle 1 or 100 miles and there’s the same chance of winning a prize.

The challenge also fosters a bit of friendly competition between businesses and individual departments within organisations. The leaderboard is a fun way to encourage more colleagues to jump on a bike and rediscover the joys of cycling.  But even if your workplace isn’t interested in getting involved, you can sign up as an individual and still take part. There’s no reason not to register, really! 🙂

What’s particularly interesting about the challenge is the behaviour change model that encourages more people to get cycling. On average, around 40% of non-cyclists that participate in the challenge start to ride a bike after the challenge finishes. The model is well established and successful. Take a look at this video to see how this works in practice.

But back to Edinburgh. This March’s Cycle Challenge prizes include:

  • a beautiful Gazelle Esprit bike from Hart’s Cyclery
  • B&B stay at the Cramond Mill
  • 100 cinema tickets
  • bike gear from Wee Cog
  • goodies from Route Clothing
  • massages from Blue Morpho
  • memberships to CTC
  • tickets to the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, as well as a day’s cargo bike hire and some snazzy mugs
  • lunch for four at the Cramond Falls Cafe
  • Rich Dyson photography workshops
  • and more to be confirmed.

There are plenty of prizes up for grabs, and all for just ten minutes on a bike.  If you know anyone in the city that’s been toying with the idea of cycling or just needs a bit of a nudge, then this could be just what they need to rediscover the joys of travel by two wheels.

With the myriad of benefits cycling brings for you and your colleagues, what’s to lose with the Edinburgh Cycle Challenge? I’m encouraging organisations and individuals across the city to get involved, so I’d be delighted if you wanted to register and take part.  It’s free and good fun, so register here and get on your bike!

How much money I saved in 2015 by cycling

It’s pretty much the end of the year, so I’ve got my final figures for my Great Edinburgh Bike Experiment. I’ve been doing posts quarterly on this, and by my last estimates in August I was up £653.77 against the fictional car. I’ve now totted up the remaining year, give or take a few days as it’s the 27th today and there are a few journeys left in December.  But hey, what are a few days? Let’s tot up September, October, November and December…

Autumn and winter’s numbers

  • Total journeys: 101
  • Total distance: 855 miles
  • Total calories: 27,719 kcal
  • Total climb: 22,702 feet

Bike expenditure in last four months

As it turns out, riding the same bike almost every day over two and a half years means that things need replaced. And so it was over autumn and winter, when all the proverbial buses came at once and I had to replace both gear cables, both tyres, chain, cassette, two brake block sets, one brake cable, and the rear brake completely due to it being cheap to begin with and eventually falling off. Combine that with a service to get everything sorted and I was down £130. Ouch. That’s a big wedge out of my potential savings.

However, when cycling thousands of miles over bumpy, pockmarked Edinburgh roads you’re going to have to expect wear and tear. This is now my third chain and cassette and umpteenth brake block, so it goes with the territory.

As for bus fares, I have been spending a bit more on buses these last few months due to some rotten weather. So I am down £30 for this, too.

Total expenditure – £160

Public transport equivalent

  • I substituted £142.50 worth of bus fares in  September, October, November and December. It wouldn’t have been more economical for a Ridacard over these months, so let’s just go with the total.
  • Public transport cost = £142.50

Car equivalent

  • Monthly car running cost – £39.16
  • Petrol cost for 855 miles – £73.92. The majority of journeys I’ve been doing are in the city, so I’m going to round it up to £80 to account for congestion.
  • Total running cost = £230.56

Gym equivalent

  • Total cost – £122

Grand totals!

  • Public transport (£142.50) + gym (£122) – expenditure (£160) = £104.50 savings
  • Car (£230.56) + gym (£122) – expenditure (£160) = £192.56 savings

2015 grand totals

  • Bike vs Public Transport – £633 in pocket

  • Bike vs Car – £846.33 in pocket

  • Total miles cycled – 2,454

So that’s it, folks! Over the course of the year, I have managed to save almost £850 against my fictional car. I am pretty happy with that, especially as my fictional car has been perfect and required no repairs or anything on its fictional MOT.

In conclusion

I think I will write a bit more about this over the next week or two. It’s been incredibly interesting to tot up my cycling and compare it against potential spends on running a car. Of course, this crude experiment has done nothing to try and understand the other amazing benefits afforded by cycling. No mention of:

  • carbon savings
  • societal benefits by riding a bike (bike riding offers a wealth of plus points in this sense)
  • my physical health and fitness
  • my mental health
  • the “feelgood” factor

More on this soon.