Rachel from Leicester began riding to work for the usual reasons, to save time, save money and get fit. Fast forward three years and she's training for a 100 kilometre sponsored night-ride and is getting her daughter into cycling too.
Name: Rachel Biddles
Workplace: (Leicester City Council) Based at an office in the north east of the city and work as a Family Support Worker.
Tell us about your commuting rig (don’t be afraid to get geeky): Diamond Back Contra Plus (white) purchased through the Cycle to Work Scheme. I don’t get geeky I’m afraid, I’m learning more about bikes and their workings all the time, but getting into braking systems or gear shifts is beyond me lol . . . .
What’s your commute like? My commute is roughly 5/6 miles each way, depending on which route I take. I’m lucky enough to do part of my journey through a local country park and enjoy seeing the seasons changing, the young animals grow up through the year. Although I live in a valley I have some quite steep uphills to tackle. I do change my routes too, to keep things interesting/take in more hill practice or lengthen the distance. I have just signed up for a 100 kilometre sponsored night bike ride, so I am trying to build in some practice time during my commute.
How many days a week do you commute by bike? Between two and three days a week. This can be more if my daughter and I go by bike to some of her activities.
What do you enjoy the most about bike commuting? Getting off road and enjoying the places that you can’t go when commuting by car, watching the countryside and wildlife through the seasons – i.e. ducklings or cygnets growing up, catching glimpses of rare birds, the fresh air, beating the traffic jams, and very importantly getting fit for free! I’ve been commuting for three years now and have got the bug!
My daughter and I now do a lot more cycling together and we try and attend local cycling events. I really enjoy doing photography and can end up doubling my journey time if the views/weather conditions are that good.
What’s your least favourite thing about commuting by bike? Vehicle drivers who do not respect other road users and sometimes drive downright dangerously! Getting a flat tire in the middle of the countryside and forgetting to pack a spare :/
What are your main reasons to commute by bike? My main reason for starting to commute by bike was when I got rid of my car, and buses would take one hour and a half, but on bike the same journey was 25 minutes. I now have motorised transport back, but enjoy the freedom of cycling so much that I have continued and it has turned into a much loved hobby and activity.
Have you got any funny or interesting bike commuting stories or experiences to share? Last year during the Olympic Torch relay I was commuting along one of the relay routes. The roads were closed to traffic, but we were still allowed to cycle. People were cheering and waving as I cycled by which was brilliant! As I cycled past the Leicester North Station for The Great Central Railway, I also stopped off to take some pictures of the torch going onto the train. If I wasn’t on my bike I would never of had access to this!
What’s your killer commuting tip? If you’re starting out commuting by bike, then research your route because you could have access to places that aren’t accessible by car/public transport and you can transform your commute into an adventure and not just a means to an end.
Are you a British Cycling Member? If so how does your British Cycling membership support your bike commuting? Yes I am and I do use the route finder to help me plan extra training rides for my 100 kilometre bike ride. I also enjoy keeping up to date with the newsletters.
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