Imagine gliding down the road with the breeze in your hair and a fantastic 360 degrees view of the world, with the freedom to go pretty much anywhere you like!  The speed and length of your journey depends on you.  It’s much faster than walking, but not much more complicated – and the vehicle you are using is simple and extremely reliable and very easy to repair.

Yes, cycling is lovely!  Ok, the sun is not always shining, it can take time to climb hills, our roads are groaning from a dreadful excess of private motor vehicles and delivery lorries – but bear with me!

Did you last ride a bike as a child?  Have you tried a modern bike?  If you haven’t you should!  Everything is better: the speed, the comfort, the brakes, the gears – and we now have e-bikes (of which more later).

It’s summertime now so a great moment to try cycling again, or to increase your cycling.  And we are publishing this blog to promote Cycle to Work day on Thursday August 5th (https://www.cycletoworkday.org/blog).  Because it’s time to try cycling to work!

Cycling is great for your wellbeing.  It’s physically active, it gets your system going, it exposes you to the stimulations of the outdoor environment, it can transport you where you want to go  – really important for a population like ours, where more than half of our children (and at least a third of adults) do not achieve Government recommended exercise levels.

Plus of course regular physical activity is vital for our immune systems – and the Covid pandemic has reminded us all of the importance of our natural immunities.

So why not think about getting a bike, especially if you have an employer – like Livewell Southwest and many others – that participate in the ‘cycle to work’ scheme.  That’s when the employer lends you the money as a tax-free benefit to in effect buy a bike.  You then pay back the employer in instalments over the next year, which can end up saving you up to 39% on the price of a new bike.

This scheme has now been improved, allowing many employees to borrow larger sums which can then enable the purchase of a good-quality electric-bike (at least £1000).   If you haven’t tried an e-bike, why don’t you visit your local cycle shop and ask for a test ride?

Because they are wonderful – it’s like having someone to help push you along when needed.  You still have to be physically active and pedal, but that extra electric push can make all the difference when you encounter our Devon hills etc – the rider can of course adjust the power level required from the bike.

E-bikes are the future in my opinion.  We must all be aware of the massive socio-economic and lifestyle changes we have to make to address climate change and the environmental  crisis.  Compared with e-cars – let alone fossil fuel cars! – e-bikes have a much smaller environmental impact, requiring much less resource to produce and maintain, and taking up much less space in our crowded towns and cities.  Don’t you look around you sometimes and think ‘why do we need all these massive metal boxes dominating our environments, usually just to take one person from A to B?’  Did you know there are nearly 33 million private cars in the UK, and counting?

We can all make a difference to the world we live in.  So let’s get on our bikes for starters!