It might be true that the roads are too busy. Why are they too busy? Because there are too many cars on the road!!  If we all rode our bikes more, there would be less cars, less car incidents, this will reduce our insurance costs, less pollution, cleaner air, less asthma and allergies, better ozone layer so less harmful UV rays. The health benefits will reduce obesity, better energy levels, exercise is proven to improve motivation and state of mind so less depression. There will be more bike shops and mechanics so it will increase employment and help new businesses and entrepreneurs. Less cars on the road will also reduce wear and tear on the tarmac. The road tax we pay is not for road maintenance and construction - it is an emissions tax. Less road tax will not affect the state of the roads, but less wear and tear on the road will reduce council tax and the overall financial burden the Highways Agency puts on our budget. We're just a small shop in a small suburb, but if we each take steps to make a difference, there will be a sizeable and noticeable change. Lets use this simple rule:


"We promise not to use our car for journeys less than 1 mile"


In the words of our friendly retail giant Tesco - "every little helps". So lets all make a small change which will make a big difference! Start by using your car less.


I will leave you in peace and save you from my laborious rant with this video dating back to 1961. 

SO.... Why don't more people ride their bikes more?


It's completely baffling me. On some occasions I'm forced to drive. If I'm picking up customer bikes, or dropping them off, transporting bulky materials etc - I have no option. But wherever possible I always ride. Admittedly there are times when I could ride that I get lazy and drive, mainly this is for shopping. But on a small shopping trip, I should be riding my bike. There are facilities to lock your bike up everywhere, employers and businesses must provide the facility now, so why don't we ride?? 


"It's raining, I'll get wet"  - My response: "my skin is waterproof, I don't melt away every time I have a shower"


"My work clothes will get ruined if I ride in to work" - My response: "take your work clothes in a bag at the beginning of the week - that's what I do"


"It's too hilly" - My response: "have you seen the size of me??!! If I can get up hills anyone can. You have gears - use them"


"I don't have a bike" - My response: "the money you save in a month of not driving will more than adequately pay for a suitable bike to ride to work on"


"I'm not fit enough" - My response: "don't you worry sunshine, you'll be flying soon enough!!"

What is the solution?


Impossible question to answer!! My observations from around the UK are that cycling DOES work. I went down to Cambridge not long ago, and was astounded by the number of bikes being ridden. As I approached the outskirts of the city I noticed more cycle lanes and a few more cyclists, but then as I got towards the centre, there were far more bikes than cars! Whether there was a cycle lane or not, bikes everywhere! Every time I stopped at a traffic light or roundabout or crossing, cars were heavily outnumbered! And it wasn't just students and younger people. Literally every walk of life on a bike. There was an old lady, she must have been about 70 years old, with a big basket of shopping on the front. Just in normal clothes. Because it was normal. Obviously several students and professionals on their commutes, but they were probably in equal numbers to parents with kids. Whether the children were on their own bikes, child seats, tag alongs or tandems, several full families all on their bikes, riding along without a care in the world. It was amazing. At one set of lights I counted 11 people on bikes, taking up the space of one large vehicle. I was 6 cars back, in my van. I was able to count the number of people in cars. 6 in total.


So in the space of those 6 people in their 6 cars, we could fit 66 people on bikes. I think we're all missing the point here. We should be looking at the problem. The problem is our laziness. The problem is our attitude. The problem is selfishness. The problem is us in our cars. Until the government take drastic action on the use of petrol/diesel fuelled vehicles in our cities, we have to look at ourselves and our lives, and our childrens' lives, and change ourselves and our approach to transport. Bike riding is not just a hobby or a sport or what you do on a weekend - it is the most sustainable form of transport known to mankind.

LifeCycles Leeds Bike Shop Supporting Commuters

CYCLE TO WORK in Leeds and Yorkshire

Here are some of the schemes we are currently registered with. Please note that if your employer has chosen Halfords Cycle 2 Work as the preferred supplier, we are an approved Halfords Partner Store so we can now accept Halfords Vouchers. Please see the list below of the schemes we offer - if you are an employer looking to join a scheme or an employee looking to buy a new bike, please Get in Touch - we can advise you on the best options for your circumstances.


​https://www.cyclescheme.co.uk

http://www.bikesforthenhs.co.uk 

http://www.bike2workscheme.co.uk 

http://www.cycle2work.info 

https://www.salary-plus.co.uk/sites/EntryPages/HSE/cycle-plus

 Illustrations by Emma Chinnery emmachinnery.com

COMMUTING & CYCLE TO WORK SCHEMES

 Illustrations by Emma Chinnery emmachinnery.com

 Illustrations by Emma Chinnery emmachinnery.com

What a cool dude.



If you would like to benefit from various employer-benefits schemes, LifeCycles Leeds Bike Shop are able to provide you with VAT free sales, paid for by your employer. At LifeCycles we are an approved dealer for all major cycle to work schemes. We give you a wide scope of choice when it comes to choosing your bike and equipment and are happy to answer any questions you may have about your specific cycle to work scheme. We are happy to provide this as a free service to all our potential customers.

A customer of ours, in his mid 60's now, calculated that by not having a car for the past 45 years that he has saved almost £500,000!!! It's mad isn't it?! Yet we still sit around in our big metal boxes, polluting the air.


My personal experience:


I commute from north Leeds to Wortley where the shop is located. Generally speaking if I choose to drive it can take anywhere from 35 minutes to over an hour. On one occasion, it took 1 hour and 15 minutes!!!! For 6.5 miles!!!! That equates to 5.2mph!!! Walking pace is 4mph. I don't pay insurance, tax, servicing, fuel, and for the vehicle itself, just to travel at walking pace!!! I'm better off walking! Ridiculous. After a journey like that you arrive at work stressed, aggrieved, robbed of time, and of course - LATE!!!! If there has been an accident or I set off just 5 minutes later than normal, the traffic can also be horrendous. Getting caught in the school run with the oversized vehicles and shoddy parking, it can be a real nightmare. On the other hand, when I ride, it takes me 28-30 minutes every single time I do that journey. Whether it's hot and sunny, raining, windy, snowing or anything in between, my journey time on the bike is set. 28-30 minutes. If I'm in a rush, I can knock a few minutes off but it's not really worth it. Better be safe on the road than trying to jump red lights and squeeze in between traffic. Touch wood I've never punctured on my commute either! There are obviously loads of idiots driving about, but so long as I ride in a respectful manner and obey the highway code, luckily I have also never been in an incident. Hoping I haven't jinxed myself now!! I get to work at exactly when I want to, i.e. 28 to 30 minutes after I set off. I have panniers installed so I can take as much luggage as I need, we have a shower at the shop so I don't have to fester all day in my sweat. I start the day energised, fresh, motivated, and - ON TIME!!!

Would the world be a better place if we rode our bikes a bit more? I reckon so. It's cheaper, healthier, and most of the time, a lot quicker! We all have conclusive proof of this.