• Aged 33
• Apperley Bridge resident
• Cycling since August 2015
• Commuter Cyclist
We’d like to introduce you to Lorna! Just like many of us, she had her fears about trying something new but with a bit of encouragement from CityConnect she’s now loving her new commute by bike! There’s no stopping her now!
CASE STUDY OBJECTIVES
We met up with her for a chat to find out how cycling had helped her overcome a medical condition, how her journey to work had improved and her thoughts on the investment in local cycling facilities.
So what motivated Lorna to become a cyclist?
Lorna explained that it was a combination of things that led to her travelling by bike; moving house to Apperley Bridge, which is closer to the Aire-Valley towpath and offers a traffic free cycling route into Leeds, actually buying a bike and also having someone to support and motivate her during her first few trips by bike:
“I thought it was probably a bit beyond me to actually cycle to work! Then I met the CityConnect Team at a briefing session and they persuaded me that it’d be a good idea to try it and agreed to ride in with me, and actually, I found out that it was a very pleasant journey and much nicer than getting the bus.”
Lorna quickly realised she could overcome her cycling fears.
One of her biggest concerns was her level of fitness and the distance from home to work, which is a 20 mile round trip. However, she was surprised at how easy she found it, how quickly her fitness improved and most unexpectedly, her door to door journey was actually a half hour quicker.
“When I started cycling I thought ‘hey, here’s exercise that I actually enjoy! And it doesn’t feel like a chore to do it.”
Lorna has cycled up to three round trips a week, which is more than the average Briton rides in an entire year! (National Travel Survey, table NTS0309: www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/nts03-modal-comparisons).
Would Lorna encourage more people to cycle? Yep!
“If 20% of people cycled it would make a huge difference – they’d be fitter and healthier, therefore not as much of a burden on the NHS, probably saving them money because people aren’t getting diabetes or other obesity related diseases, people would notice a difference in their mental health too because exercise can make you feel generally happier.”
Lorna described how for the last year or so, she’d been dealing with a medical problem in her leg that had restricted how much physical activity she could do, and this had had an adverse effect on her fitness. Riding a bike has given her a route back in to physical activity, not only that, it’s one which she actually enjoys doing. She also described the positive effect the extra fitness, energy and motivation has had in other aspects of her life:
“I got to the point where I could only walk a couple of miles without having to stop. I was probably getting unfit before but the blood clot compounded it. After an operation I felt so much better, we moved house, I got my bike through the cycle to work scheme, and then met CityConnect and started riding to work. I now feel like the best I’ve felt in years!”
We asked Lorna about the effect the installation of the Cycle Superhighway might have on her inclination to cycle, and what she thought would make bike riding more appealing. Whilst she no longer lives on the route, she strongly supports the investment of cycling infrastructure adding that she would have never had ridden her bike to work had she not moved near the canal towpath and that cycle lanes should be a standard part of building a road, as cycling has so many positive benefits.
• Surprised at how easy it was and how quickly fitness improved
• Something or someone to help get you started can be a great motivator
• Cycling is functional and practical, and can be a time saving door to door mode of transport
• Cycling is a low impact, enjoyable route back in to physical activity
• Finding something you enjoy doing is the key to longer-term habit forming
• Feels strongly about investment in dedicated cycling infrastructure as a means to getting more people cycling