STAY LEAN AND GREEN
Published: 19 Sep 2016
Cycling to work is cheaper, greener and healthier than taking your car every day. Not only do you save money on petrol, but you can squeeze some healthy exercise into your busy day.
Kirsty Blackman, MP for Aberdeen North, has taken to two wheels and the unexpected challenges of cycling through a city. While discovering that her tights can stand up to the spiky pedals better than her legs can, she has also noticed an improvement in her fitness levels.
“When I am cycling, it’s a time for me to get a bit of exercise in and not be distracted by work calls, radio chatter or folk chatting loudly on their phones around me,” said Kirsty.
“I also don’t feel like it’s eating into either family time or work time – I need to get to work somehow, I may as well get fitter at the same time.
“Public transport is great, but saving the odd £4 on a bus day ticket has been useful – as has burning an extra few calories here and there.”
Kirsty was not always a keen cyclist and has had some knock-backs along the way. Ten years ago, she found herself shaken after a close encounter with a lorry which overtook her bicycle. In the incident, she ended up sandwiched between her bike and the lorry’s gigantic front wheel. The ordeal put her off cycling and she only recently got back on.
“There are many things that can be off-putting to road cyclists, and that incident certainly put me off my bike. It was a real shame because I had spent my final year of school cycling everywhere,” Kirsty said.
“I was on my bike all the time, not just because it was useful transport, but because I enjoyed it. I lost that enjoyment for years because, although I was lucky not to be seriously injured, my encounter with the lorry felt like a narrow miss. If it had been going faster, I’ve no doubt the collision and damage would have been a lot more serious.”
Kirsty is glad she took the decision to get back on the bike and is learning to navigate the pavement cracks and bus shelters as she makes her way around town. Kirsty is now making contact with local recycling groups to see where positive change can be made without great expense as she can see around town where the council could take steps to help cyclists and pedestrians.
“I’ll be on my bike as often as I can, and hope many others join me – at least while the autumn evenings are still fine enough for a cycle,” she said.
Cycle to Work Day took place on Wednesday September 14 and the next annual Town Without My Car Day will be on September 25. See news.aberdeencity.gov.uk/in-town-without-my-car-day