CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Questions/Support/Help

(Before) cycling to work - if only I'd known...

(34 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by chdot
  • Latest reply from Pintail
  • This topic is not resolved

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  1. chdot
    Admin

    'Behind the scenes' there's been some discussion (mostly by PM) about 'encouraging people to cycle to work'.

    There are plenty of people on here who have started in the last few years. There have been a couple of threads about people's reasons/experiences - some great stories.

    One person admitted 'thinking about it' for three years.

    Are there any particular things that put you off - maybe not knowing a good route, or just (fear of) lack of fitness?

    Anything that made a difference - new showers/racks at work or knowing someone who had started? Someone on here said it was because they noticed more people cycling past their house.

    Perhaps more important - things you didn't realise until you started, about bikes, clothing, carrying things, rules of the road etc.

    The idea is to produce a basic web site designed to encourage people and try to deal with things that have put them off.

    A lot of time and money (not least on advertising) has been spent trying to get people to 'leave the car'.

    'We' know that just having more people cycling is beneficial. We also know that much better infrastructure would help. More people cycling makes such things more likely (perhaps).

    What about the things that might encourage people (or even put them off). Some people get lighter and fitter, others just eat more! (But are probably fitter.) Panniers or bags (there's no 'right' answer!)

    People are different. Some like to hammer to work on the skinniest racer others take their time on a 'traditional' bike - some do both.

    Such diversity is part of cycling's charm. As anth says "No matter what you ride... As long as you do..."

    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. kaputnik
    Member

    It's a very good idea - assume it's not Edinburgh (or Scotland?) specific, but also that it will be considerate of our local conditions; e.g. weather, bad roads, indifferent infrastructure, numerous hills etc.

    We have a number of fine photographers that frequent the forum, and an even larger number of fine cyclists - commuters mainly I would think, but also plenty who might fit any or all of the recreational / utility / for work / leisure / whatever pigeon holes.

    I had it in my head when I read your post that what might be useful is a number of little interviews with people, headed up by a picture of them on a typical day with their typical bike that explains what sort of cycling they're up to, how they get by and what sort of things they wear / have bought / have stuck on their bike to help get by. I think if someone was reading something like this they might think "hey, they're just like me" and get a sense of encouragement, at the same time as being given some basic information about pannier vs. rucksack, full mudguards vs. ass-savers, knobblies vs. slicks etc.

    Of course there's the Copenhagenize purism that says you just need a bike and get on it, nobody needs to spend money on anything, lest of all any cycle clothing. But I think most of us are aware that in reality for many people that just doesn't work and it just doesn't work for many people tentatively thinking of cycling on board.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. chdot
    Admin

    "what might be useful is a number of little interviews with people, headed up by a picture of them on a typical day with their typical bike that explains what sort of cycling they're up to, how they get by and what sort of things they wear / have bought / have stuck on their bike to help get by"

    YES!

    (Like this maybe http://pedalonparliament.org/who)

    Any volunteers?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. chdot
    Admin

  5. steveo
    Member

    Lack of fitness was a biggy for me but that was quickly rectified with a few sessions on the turbo I'd bought a few years previous.

    Lack of money was also an issue I'd been looking at gumtree but didn't have much (any) spare cash but work introduced cyclescheme which for the same money as I was paying to Lothian Buses got me a pretty good road bike.

    Between cancelling by bus pass and getting a fast bike I countered my (perceived) fitness issue and had no more extra outgoigng, well until I started wanting more stuff and replacing wear and tear...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. steveo
    Member

    I'm happy to help with both sides of Kaputniks idea, it could be a fantastic and realistic resource.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. wingpig
    Member

    Fine ideas. Hap to help.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. deckard112
    Member

    Interview, happy to volunteer as someone who used to be bolted to his car but was freed 4 years ago.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. Beano
    Member

    Yeh happy to help too if asked.

    My 'cycling to work' coincided with actually taking up 'cycling' again just over a year ago; before cycling to work I didn't actually cycle (at all). I don't think any 'one' thing prompted it but lots of little factors came together to make it workable (bit of flexi working agreed by employer, showers at work, going to a one-car household, money (thought it might be cheaper - oh how I lol at that now), more me/thinking time, fitness benefits,actually 'enjoying' the commute, etc).

    I did have a bit of the fear about commuting from Fife (it is a long way - for me anyway). Certainly most people that learn I commute by bike from Fife are aghast but I try to explain that it isn't that bad once you've been going a while. Don't get me wrong, I could count on one hand the number of 5-day commutes I've done in a year BUT people think they have to do it EVERY day; even doing 1-2 days a week would give benefits.

    I have a few friends who live in Fife but work in Edin; one I know commutes by bike when he can but the others say that it doesn't work for them (in terms of their job role). Partly I believe them but you have to want to make it work; it's the 'easy' decision to jump in the car or on the train for a Fife-Edin commute; not so easy to take the harder option.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. chdot
    Admin

    "I could count on one hand the number of 5-day commutes I've done in a year BUT people think they have to do it EVERY day; even doing 1-2 days a week would give benefits."

    Yes!

    This is some of the text on the proto-site -

    "

    Most people on CCE cycle to work – but not every day. Most have cars but prefer the flexibility and (usually) the reliability of cycling. Journeys tend to take the same time – unless there is a very strong wind. It’s easy to vary your route to make it more interesting (or challenging).

    "

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. chdot
    Admin

    @k

    "assume it's not Edinburgh (or Scotland?)"

    Actually it is, because it's built around the experiences of CCEers. A lot of stuff for would-be-commuters is universal, but the specifics of the off-road path networks, hills, weather, FRB is 'local'.

    It's easier (I think) for those 'hesitating' if they can relate - literally - to where others have gone before.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. jdanielp
    Member

    I would be happy to help out behind the scenes if anyone fancies the idea of making the interviews into videos (I have some video-oriented DSLR equipment and access to an audio recorder, but rather less experience of audio than video), although I wouldn't be quite as keen about being in front of a video camera; I could probably cope with a photograph and a written interview if that is all it is.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. chdot
    Admin

    "making the interviews into videos"

    Sounds good.

    Maybe new site needs a YouTube channel?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. LivD
    Member

    Learning about quiet routes and cycle paths was crucial for me. Until I found out about the NEPN I thought my commute would have basically been the same as the horrible bus route.

    Other people who I have since encouraged to start cycling to work have had similar epiphanies. Me: "did you know you can get from work (West Granton) to Haymarket without going on a road?" Them: [mindblown] etc.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. Vez
    Member

    Happy to help with this, great idea. My 'if only I'd known' is if only I'd known how happy it would make me I'd have started years ago!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. chdot
    Admin

    @LivD

    How did you find out about the NEPN and what did you do to make sure there was a suitable route?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. LivD
    Member

    @chdot - it was my new boyfriend who was keen on cycling and also showed me the Spokes map. "what's that purple line going from my home to my work? Coo!"

    I did a recce one Sunday to check it worked. Started cycling once or twice a week, ended up realising I wasn't getting my money's worth from my bus pass so cancelled the direct debit and cycled every day.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. gowgowuk
    Member

    Like LivD, it's thanks to the NEPN that I cycle to work 5 days a week in all seasons (with a few very bad weather exceptions). I honestly think that if it wasn't there and I had to cycle through the city center, I would quickly abandon the bike and revert to driving to work.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. chdot
    Admin

    "it was my new boyfriend who was keen on cycling and also showed me the Spokes map"

    Clearly demonstrates the value of Spokes maps and knowing someone who knows. Don't suppose all potential cycle commuters are likely to get new (cycling) boyfriends!!

    "Started cycling once or twice a week"

    I think this (idea) would make a difference to a lot of people. I think it's clear that many people think in terms of all (5 days a week) or nothing (existing car/bus commute).

    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. nedd1e_h
    Member

    We have a Spokes map up on the wall in a prominent location in our office (the entrance to the canteen).

    I often see colleagues looking at it, planning routes, etc. Even if they're only looking at it for car journeys, it still gives cycling good publicity.

    I would recommend the same for any office.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. HankChief
    Member

    This is a great idea. I think the individual stories could be very powerful, especially if people related to them.

    From running events to get colleagues to cycle to my work, the 2 most common barriers were safe routes and getting a locker.

    I wonder what people think about having a catalogue of facilities at their place of work. Would help new people realise what exists where they work and also could be a good leverage for people trying to get better facilities at their work.

    Appreciate we won't have full coverage of all workplaces but we must be able to cover quite a few between us.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. chdot
    Admin

    "I wonder what people think about having a catalogue of facilities at their place of work. Would help new people realise what exists where they work and also could be a good leverage for people trying to get better facilities at their work."

    You'd think CS or ScotBug or Bike Station would have done it.

    CCE started early on -

    http://citycyclingedinburgh.info/bbpress/topic.php?id=152

    Time to add/update.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. chdot
    Admin

    Site using ideas from this thread is launched -

    http://cyclefridays.wordpress.com

    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. mmaohara
    Member

    Its a very good idea. I remember taking up cycling again in March after not having cycled at all for about 23 years. I'm really starting to enjoy it now, so nice to get the fresh air at the end of the day, though i am still a bit scared of the traffic!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. chdot
    Admin

    " i am still a bit scared of the traffic!"

    Never quite goes away, though 'experience', increased fitness and confidence help.

    Also willingness to discover/use 'other routes'.

    There are quite a few people on here who use relatively long/roundabout routes to avoid the worst traffic places.

    Often similar journey times too!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. Vez
    Member

    How about moving to Italy and getting paid to cycle to work?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-34831650

    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. mmaohara
    Member

    chdot, I do go a bit out of the way to go onto quieter roads, not by much but I don't take the most direct route to/from work.

    Vez; that looks great - -I wonder what it would take to get the council doing it :-)

    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. galaxy
    Member

    They should start a congestion charge and pay for it out of that.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. Pintail
    Member

    Great idea chdot, I will certainly want to point people to the site on those occasions when I get asked about cycling to work. But given the demographic of who cycles to work and who might be asking about cycling to work, I'm surprised to see such prominence given to the "Don't steal one" message. Very unnecessary and likely to put people off the site if you ask me.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. chdot
    Admin

    "I'm surprised to see such prominence given to the "Don't steal one" message."

    Is it prominent?

    Seemed humorous when it was written.

    Posted 1 year ago #

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