Our sportive blogger Gavin began his cycling renaissance after a chance encounter with the Cycle to Work Scheme - a day that changed his life (and his wardrobe) forever.
The other day I noticed I had a lot of clothes, nearly as much as my wife! How is it I have a wardrobe that rivals Naomi Campbell's (hot-weather clobber, wet-weather clobber, cold-weather clobber, wet hot-weather clobber, wet cold-weather clobber, be-safe-be-seen-clobber, spd shoes, road bike shoes, wet-weather shoe covers need I go on?). What has led me to this state where my cycling clobber dwarfs my normal civilian clothing (one tee shirt, two pairs of jeans) and rivals my wife's lifelong obsession !
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN...
Four years ago - the company I was working for enrolled on the cycle to work scheme. I happened across a marquee with demo bikes in the car park and was persuaded to try out a road bike. I fell for a Giant FCR 6. Initially circumspect about the thin tyres and the uncomfortable seat , the shiny bike and cost savings convinced me to commit to the Cycle To Work Scheme.
I did cycle that bike to work - I cycled it to work lots. Initially I cycled it one day a week (14 mile round trip) - then three days a week, eventually seven days a week. Then I moved jobs and the 14 mile round trip became a 30 mile round trip. Within two years the Giant had done over 7K miles and I had dropped a few belt notches.
Other changes also occurred - my doctor had noticed that I was paying two visits to the Dr Surgery every year - for coughs. These visits have stopped, my respiratory system has improved, my cholesterol has lowered and my sleeping patterns - understandably - improved. I won’t say I wasn't exhausted, at times I got home and showered and just fell asleep on the bed.
The Cycle to Work Scheme is quite possibly my life saver. My weight was spiraling, my health was deteriorating and without this incentive - I would be inching toward an all too familiar statistic. I am quite evangelistic about the scheme and urge anybody to take this up and give the bike a try. I quite understand that cycling is not for everyone, but there must be a huge untapped group out there for whom - there can be nothing more fun than breaking up a rail journey with a Brompton, or swapping the SAAB for a Single Speed or the Fiat for a Fixie.
And here I am with this wardrobe - and something that started as a one day a week habit - has become a lifestyle (I am even looking at cycling holidays, reading cycling books and entering events at week-end). The irony here being that I started cycling to work as a way of saving money (which it does - believe me)- and am now not cycling on Friday's so that I can be fresh for weekend ride outs! Get the bug and beat a track to HR - you'll make friends get healthy and feel great. Just say YES.
Want to find out more about Cycle to work Schemes?
Find more information on on Directgov website
Regular commuter? Fancy testing your riding skills at a cycling event?