Beat the traffic, save cash and spot the city wildlife

It’s Thursday, so it’s cycle to work day, say thousands of Sheffielders who get around on a bike all the time.Actually, this Thursday genuinely is Cycle to Work Day, when the nation is officially encouraged to commute via pedal work.

Thursday, 18th July 2019, 11:31 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th August 2019, 1:05 pm
Cycle to Work Day: cycle commuters by the River Don

In Sheffield, many more companies are getting the message, says Richard Pilgrim who promotes active travel as part of Travel South Yorkshire.

“Staff wellbeing is increasingly important for local companies,” he said.

“And they’re seeing that you can get exercise and activity, which is good for your physical and mental health, during your commute to work.

Cycle to Work Day: Cycle commuters on the Cobweb Bridge near the Wicker

“You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym.”

There are several initiatives to help Sheffield cyclists, he says.

“There’s road skills training from Pedal Ready for anyone from beginner to advanced cyclists to build confidence for cycle commuting.

“There are free Dr Bike bike checks from CycleBoost, who also offer bike loans, including e-bikes, although you may have to go on a waiting list for those."

Cycle to Work Day: Cycle commuters on the Cobweb Bridge near the Wicker

There are upcoming Let’s Ride park cycling sessions at Concord (August 10) and Hillsborough (August 31) and the city’s free Love to Ride cycling programme is now in its third year, offering prizes for cyclists and helping pro-cycling companies get together to promote cycling to staff.

Cycle to Work day is linked to the Cyclescheme initiative where bikes can be bought at discount through salary sacrifice. Companies can now sign up for the updated Cyclescheme to include e-bikes costing over £1,000.

Like many hilly city commuters, Richard says his journey into town from near Woodseats is actually two different rides.

“The ride in is really enjoyable, you can cycle past all the traffic in queues and you know exactly how long it’s going to take you to get in.

Cycle to Work Day: Richard Pilgrim, marketing manager for Travel South Yorkshire's active travel team

”It’s a bit of a breeze, really,” he said.

“The ride back is slightly uphill, so it takes more effort and your heart rate goes up a bit, but that’s good. You can decompress, clear your head and leave your work day behind you.”

The 20 minutes in, 25 minutes home again three mile cycle commute is a real option for many Sheffielders, he says.

But what do other cycle commuters think on Cycle to Work Day?

Neil Schofield after riding to the city centre

Katharine Bye from HLM Architects said: “Cycling to work gets me energised, it’s faster and cheaper than the bus or car, and it’s really good fun zipping down the hills.

“I can already use bus and cycle lanes most of the way, but more traffic free routes would be great. And I think cycle commuting employees are more motivated and healthier.”

Rebecca Mews from Travel South Yorkshire said: “My cycle in takes 12 minutes compared to a 40 minute bus journey, and I enjoy the extra time in bed!

“By cycling, employees arrive at work with a feeling of accomplishment and boosted self-esteem. Surely that’s going to have a positive influence on their performance at work.”

Neil Schofield from Outokumpo said: “My ride in from Greenhill to Europa Link the other side of Sheffield is 8.5 miles long and generally takes me about 35 minutes - the same time it takes me to crawl along the ring road when I drive! If more people cycled and more of the arterial routes got their own designated lanes, then commute times would reduce even further."

Amanda Baxter from Sheffield Council said: “As a cycle commuter, I’d like to see more traffic free space for cyclists, and more understanding from drivers to give a decent amount of space when overtaking. And less rain!”

Cycle to Work Day: Richard Pilgrim and Rebecca Mews cycle commuting near Sheffield city centre

Ian Loasby from CycleSheffield said: “I've been using an ebike on some days which means I travel to the AMRC apprentice training centre in my usual work clothes.

“The bike allows me to plan my day as I know I will get to work in 35 minutes door to door, and I'm saving £700 year in petrol I could burn stuck in traffic jams. I sometimes return along the Five Weirs Walk which is a wonderful way to end a working day. Not many drivers can say they saw a kingfisher on the commute home.”

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Cycle to Work Day: Rebecca Mews