Saltford Environment Group
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What's stopping you from getting on your bike?
There are many people in Saltford who own bikes but don't use them. Is this you? What happened to those good intentions? Once you get back into cycling, you'll find that it's a practical and convenient way for getting around, visiting or shopping, getting to school or work, or just to get and about enjoying the countryside. Once your bike is on the road again there will be no reason not to use it regularly, and it might even save you money.
So what's stopping you from getting on your bike? Click on these frequently asked questions and statements for lots of useful information, tips and web links on cycling:-
I haven't got a bike
I haven't got a bike
Second hand bikes can be really cheap. Life Cycle have sales of reasonably priced refurbished bikes - see www.lifecycleuk.org.uk/buy-a-bike/ police auctions on www.bumblebeeauctions.co.uk or check out ebay, Freecycle or other local sites.
If you're buying new, look out for last year's models in sales at the end of the summer.
I can't cycle
Life Cycle has subsidised courses in Bath & Bristol: http://www.lifecycleuk.org.uk/. Bike hire is available for beginners.
I don't like cycling in traffic
A Life Cycle course will build your confidence but the Bristol to Bath cycle path is traffic free and there is also a cycle path from Saltford which takes you alongside the A4 as far as the Broadmead roundabout at Keynsham, so you can even do your shopping at the Co-operative supermarket.
My bike needs fixing
Go along to the bicycle maintenance advice sessions at the monthly farmers market in Keynsham: Keynsham Bicycle Maintenance (external site) or take a Lifecycle One-day Bike Maintenance Workshop.
Cycling is too hard
Build up slowly. Start on the flat, the Bristol to Bath cycle path is ideal and you don't need to go all the way! Build up to the hills making good use of your gears. Come along to the informal cycling social rides from Keynsham: All things Cycling - Transition Keynsham (external site) or the casual rides from Cycle Bath: cyclebath.org.uk.
I can't carry anything
Get a bike rack, then you can fit panniers or a variety of other types of bag, or even have a basket fitted to your handlebar!
I might get oil or mud on my clothes
Chain-guards, mudguards or skirt-guards are easy to fit to your bike.
It's quicker and more convenient to go by car
It may not be. It could take no more than half an hour to cycle right into the centre of Bath where there are plenty of places to park your bike for nothing. No hassle with traffic and finding somewhere to park, not to mention the cost. For most people in Saltford, cycling to the local shops is an easy fairly flat route and again it's easy to park your bike. And it's kinder to the environment than driving!
I've got young children
If they are too young to ride for themselves there are many options for carrying children on bikes these days. Child carriers, bike trailers, tag-alongs and even tandems.
But where else can I go? Is there a local club I could join?
Try some of the Sustrans routes. There are two through Saltford. You could try part of the Regional route 10 which takes you along quiet roads and lanes through Burnett, Compton Dando, Woolard, Publow, Pensford and Stanton Drew and on to Chew Valley Lake. National route 4 which includes the Bristol to Bath cycle path, connects Fishguard to London if you are really serious (and fit) - but you don't have to do it all!
If you have a mountain bike you can also legally ride off road on bridlepaths and byways, but not footpaths. There are tracks starting from the south west side of Saltford and quite a few on Lansdown, reasonably accessible from Saltford if you are fairly fit. This website is good for checking legal routes: http://www.outdoorswest.org.uk/map/.
Salt and Sham (SAS) is a popular local collective cycling club for all abilities and age groups based in Saltford and Keynsham. Regardless of age or ability, no-one gets left behind on regularly organised cycle rides.
The weather's bad
As they say, there's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong choice of clothes. Well it's always nicer to cycle on a sunny day but it doesn't rain as often as you think. For short trips in the rain any waterproof jacket will do and waterproof trousers are fairly cheap. If it's hot, the air has a cooling effect on your body as you ride along.
The health benefits are overrated
Well, the British Journal of Industrial Medicine published a paper in 1986*. It studied 1,394 people and found that those who cycled regularly had the fitness levels of people ten years younger.
Another paper published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2000** was a 15 year study of 13,375 people found that those who cycled to work were much less likely to die prematurely than those who did not. This report concluded, "Even after adjustment for other risk factors, including leisure time physical activity, those who did not cycle to work experienced a 39% higher mortality rate than those who did."
* Andersen, L.B., Schnohr, P., Schroll, M., & Hein, H.O. (2000). All-cause mortality associated with physical activity during leisure time, work, sports, and cycling to work. Archives of Internal Medicine, 160, 1621-1628.
** Tuxworth, W., Nevill, A.M., White, C., & Jenkins, C. (1986). Health, fitness, physical activity and morbidity of middle aged male factory workers. British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 43, 733-753.
What about getting the children to school?
Save money by cycling and reduce the volume of car traffic at the beginning and end of the school day.
Children will have the opportunity to learn road safety and proper bicycling skills and then will be able to cycle independently. They will gain independence and confidence, develop a healthy and committed routine getting good exercise and will be more alert during class.
I'd ride to work but I can't afford a bike
Your employer may be signed up to a Cyclescheme, if not, invite them to join. It's quick and easy to set-up, costs nothing, and can also save the organisation money in National Insurance payments. It enables you to obtain a tax-free bike, improve your health and also to do your bit for the environment. With many employers providing shower facilities, you could even save on home heating and water costs!
Full details are on the http://www.cyclescheme.co.uk/ website.
Another useful website: http://www.betterbybike.info/
I'm worried about bicycle theft
The advice from Avon & Somerset police to residents via the Neighbourhood Watch Groups in Saltford is as follows:-
You really can enjoy cycling and improve your health!
Cycling with a purpose
An account written in 2015 by Paul Goddard on how he got himself motivated to get cycling
I've recently got back from a 92 mile bike ride in preparation for cycling from Land's End to John O Groats early in September. What relevance has this got with the SEG cycling section I hear you ask? The answer is purpose. Let me explain.
23 years ago I bought a mountain bike and then spent the next 16 years looking for an excuse to ride it. Then the tyres deflated and the bits that should move didn't. The excuses went on. In 2008 I had to move jobs from Glasgow to Bournemouth. I was faced with a dilemma; my new place of work was only 4 miles away. Too far to walk, not on a bus route and by the time I'd fired the diesel car up and driven to work Terry Wogan wouldn't have finished waffling and still not played a record.
Enter the bike. Now I had a purpose to use the bike not an excuse not to. Once I'd replaced the perished tyres and squirted oil in the right places I was off, a cycling commuter. I still use that bike once a week to cycle to Keynsham Leisure Centre.
After I'd got my cycling legs I bought a racing bike and entered a triathlon. Now I had a new purpose, to complete a race. This is now my commuting bike, 13 miles to Filton along the old railway path. It is also the same bike that will make the 969 mile journey in September.
So to wrap up, do you have a cycling purpose? The recently resurfaced cycle path between Saltford and The Avon Valley Railway station is fantastically smooth, away from the road and has lovely scenery. It's also only 2.5 Miles from the Bird in Hand, whilst Warmley is 5 Miles from the Bird in Hand. Both have a cafe. Or you could go the other way. Bath is only 5 miles away and like the rest of the cycle path it's flat. Bath has the added attractions of more cafes - see the common thread here?
Don't think of excuses, think of a purpose, and enjoy your coffee at the half way point!
© Saltford Environment Group