Keyworkers Lead The Way
(Commuting under Covid.. and afterwards)
Heather : I began cycling to work when I started working with the team at Northern General Hospital at the start of March (just before the pandemic). It was the shift to this new role which was the main driving force in starting cycling to work.
My husband has been a keen road cyclist for more than 10 years and has always really encouraged me to get a bike and cycle but like many others, I’ve been deterred by concerns for my own safety on the roads during busy commuter traffic times where everyone has somewhere to be.
I also strive to be as environmentally conscious as I can — nothing goes to waste in our house! How could I really justify continuing to drive to work?
After doing a month trial of an e-bike through the Sheffield CycleBoost Scheme, followed by a trip to Amsterdam (where bikes rule the land), I was very keen to get one for myself. I trialled an ex-demo e-bike from Evans, which I then purchased through the trust cycle to work scheme once I knew this was the bike for me.
Initially I was split between the Royal Hallamshire and the Northern General sites. As a Nether Edge dweller, I was more than happy cycling the 10 minutes into the Royal Hallamshire but still found myself driving to the Northern General.
In light of the pandemic, I was moved full time to NGH. It was at this point that I knew I needed to take the leap, otherwise the bike would be rendered useless and my environmental morals would be challenged. With the encouragement of colleagues, I did some route reconnaissance and trialled one with my husband on a sunny Sunday. The next day I cycled to hospital on my own and have done so every day since then.
There is no question that this experience has been aided by having less traffic to contend with at the moment. This has really boosted my confidence but also allowed me to try a few different routes which has been really fun.
Since I began cycling, I’ve shared many experiences with my colleagues who do the same. We all support and encourage each other, and I look forward to our bike tales over lunch or morning brew.
My advice to anyone who wants to start cycling to work is to talk to others around you. You’ll probably be surprised how many people in your team or office already do it and will be able to offer advice and support. We’re always keen to recruit others into our tribe.
I can also recommend courses through Pedal Ready, which include urban road confidence classes.
Be safe. Be happy. Help the planet.