Keyworkers Lead The Way

(Commuting Under Covid.. and Afterwards)

Jenny and family after checking the route one weekend

Jenny: I’m a Speech and Language Therapist at the Northern General Hospital, and I’ve started riding to work during this exceptional time.

I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was 21. My (now) husband taught me when we were in Finland at mid-summer — when all the small, competent cycling children had gone to bed.

I’m now 43. I’m not a confident rider, I found hills and corners problematic for many years. The arrival of many sons led me to need to get better at cycling in order to keep up with them. I’ve wanted to ride to work for years (from Meersbrook to the Northern General) but the busy traffic has been a convenient excuse not to do it.

This weather and the quiet roads has given me the push to try. “If I don’t do it now, I never will,” I thought.

With the help and encouragement of colleagues, I was able to follow a route that takes me largely on back roads, cycle paths and on specific designated cycle lanes on busier roads. I had to practice signalling in empty car parks before being brave enough to get on the roads. I carefully recce’d the route with my husband and family one weekend.

The hills have not been as hard as I’d anticipated. I’m much more familiar with all my gears now.

I’ve really enjoyed seeing different parts of the city. The quiet canals in the early morning are not frightening, they’re beautifully landscaped. The route takes me past art I’d not have seen otherwise.

The route home

That feeling of reaching the hospital alone, on my bike, has been wonderful.

Very liberating, and as others will say a relaxing way to get home, giving me a little headspace. I hope to continue after the roads get busier again. I am prepared now with a familiar route, and the knowledge of where to pull over if I need to. I am also more confident in my ability to do it — which is priceless.

I hope that I can stick to this as the months roll by.

(Written by Jenny, despite what it says below!)

More Stories from Sheffield Keyworkers:

Sue : “These strange times call for action!”

Rebecca: “It would be a shame to return to pre-covid levels of congestion and pollution, but without infrastructure for active travel, a lot of people will be too scared to try.”

Jenny: “That feeling of reaching the hospital alone, on my bike, has been wonderful.”

Girish: “An e bike in Sheffield is a boon for people of a certain age, like me!”

Lee: “When I’ve had a busy day, seeing things you don’t want to see, it’s enjoyable to cycle back home. It gives you time to think.”

Clare: “People would be more encouraged to cycle or walk to work if there were safer routes”

Paul: “My car’s not moved for three weeks.”

Heather: “Be safe. Be happy. Help the planet.”

Liz: “Be brave, a bit of assertiveness helps. And then inspire others.”




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David Bocking

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