Bike Week: Steve
For Bike Week, Steve talks about cycling to work for 32 years, and why he won’t be stopping anytime soon.
I re-joined Plessey in March 1991 and decided at the time that I would cycle to work because it wasn’t worth using the car for a 5-mile journey. At that time my wife couldn’t drive. There were other reasons for cycling as well.
- Wouldn’t get stuck in traffic.
- It was exercise and meant I didn’t have to find time in the evening to do it.
- There were showers at work.
- Saves paying for fuel.
I cycled in all weather and have continued to do so for the last 32 years. After three years my wife learnt to drive, and there was even less argument for having the car when children came along (her reason for learning to drive). There were and still are other people who cycle, some all year round, others when it is dry. As the number of people grew and occasionally people had punctures, Silicon Cranks was founded. This is a cycling club which has tools you can borrow to do repairs either at home or at work (as long as it is during your lunch break or before going home or at weekends). Being part of the club costs £1 a month and comes directly from your salary.
The cycling hasn’t been without incident, and I have had a few injuries, none involving a car thankfully. I have gone over the handlebars in the middle of Derriford Roundabout and tore the ligaments in my collar bone (whilst on a cycle path. These are very dangerous). This has never put me off because the health benefits outweigh the pain. In the 32 years of cycling, there have been about seven months where I haven’t cycled. Six months whilst renting in Plymstock, four weeks due to pneumonia (in the Spring) and a week for my collar bone. The days that I have driven I have felt lethargic all day rather than some of it. Cycling to work, I find, gets me ready for the day. I can think of nothing worse than sitting in a nice warm car in traffic when you could be cycling in the cold rain. I’m sure there will be many people who disagree with me.
In the 32 years I have also ridden a few different bikes. I’ve ridden racing bikes, mountain bikes and hybrids. It goes without saying that the technology has also changed. Having a Cycle to Work Scheme is a great incentive to purchase a new bike and potentially one more expensive than you set out to purchase. Clothing and accessories are also available as part of the scheme once you have decided how much you want to spend. I haven’t migrated to an electric bike yet, but if you want to ditch the car for a different motorised vehicle, then my advice would be, do it.