Do you automatically reach for the car keys every time you need to pop to the shops? Do you always drive to the swimming pool or sports centre? How about visiting friends, going to the pub or cinema or evening classes? If these destinations are within a couple of miles of your home, then leave the car keys behind and hop on your bike, or walk if it isn’t safe to cycle.
Over one fifth of all car journeys today are less than 2 miles. Many of us could cover this distance in less than 15 minutes on a bike, and help reduce traffic volumes and pollution while getting fitter and saving on car park fees.[i] Here are our three top tips to help you overcome barriers to cycling that you might feel are a problem for you, such as the need to carry shopping or children:
- Adapt your bike - There are all sorts of add-ons for bikes to enable you to carry stuff and kids. Panniers, trailers, tag-alongs, baskets, racks.
- Plan your route - Car drivers choose the fastest, most direct routes to reach their destination. On a bike, there might be a safer route that you don’t know about: if in doubt, talk to your local authority’s road safety unit or cycling officer.
- Think through your trip - What are you going to buy and do you have the space to carry it on your bike? Where are you going to park your bike and will it be secure?
London Cycling Campaign tips on carrying loads and cycling with children and preventing theft of your bike.
Cycle4Life page listing route planners
Cycle4Life page on campaigning for safer facilities for cyclists
[i] Department for Transport: A Sustainable Future for Cycling (pdf)