• Aged 22
• Community Activist
• E-bike enthusiast
We first met Jaimes at a go:cycling celebration event in November 2015 where we quickly realised his passion for all things bike!
With Jaimes’ enthusiasm for cycling we wanted to find out how Jaimes could motivate and encourage other people in becoming more active, his views on the new Cycle Superhighway and how he feels about the heavily congested roads of Leeds.
So where did Jaimes first find his passion for cycling? We met up with Jaimes to find out.
Jaimes first started cycling seriously on a mountain bike about 5 years ago before it was unfortunately stolen. However, as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining! This unfortunate event led him onto a whole new love for bikes! Whilst looking for a new motorcycle (his other passion), he came across the Cruiser Bicycle and couldn’t resist getting himself a Schwinn Beachcruiser which he’s been using ever since. In fact there’s barely a day goes by where he doesn’t ride it, often making 8 – 10 mile trips a day.
But what was it that motivated him to start riding in the first place?
“It was my transport situation, more specifically, the cost of public transport. The bus would have cost £4 every day, cycling doesn’t cost me a penny. I also save myself a lot of time by cycling, in fact when I was at college, I cut my travel time by about half an hour (a journey of about 10 miles).”
As well as the obvious health benefits, cycling has helped him control his asthma and feels he’s more creative and has more time and energy to think about things.
Jaimes told us his opinion on the effect 40+ years of car-focussed planning has had on the city, the impact the current road network has on cyclists and what he believes to be the solution.
Whilst riding in traffic he says he can taste the ‘grimy air’ and would welcome a congestion charge in Leeds as the city was never designed for this amount of traffic. He told us that it’s getting to the point where we have to say there are just too many cars and something needs to be done. Jaimes said that he’d like to see the city invest in more cycle routes, particularly in the extension of the Superhighway.
He confessed to sometimes riding on the pavement when he feels it is not safe to ride on the roads, but makes it clear that he rides carefully, respecting other users.
Jaimes isn’t the only one to avoid certain roads or junctions by bike, we often hear this from other cyclists too, which highlights the reason why CityConnect is building new segregated cycle routes across West Yorkshire, meaning that less cyclists will feel the need to cycle on pavements.
‘I think the real advantage is the segregation of the route from motorised traffic. As someone who travels by bike on the road, I’m aware of the dangers of filtering, and instead I prefer to sit behind the traffic. The smooth Superhighway alleviates this, it has made a massive difference to the amount of time it takes to get to different places. The fact it is segregated from fast moving traffic has taken the stress away.”
Jaimes told us that he regularly sees other cyclists on the route over the course of a week’s riding. But made note that as with any new scheme, people will need time to adjust and realise it’s there, before it really takes off:
“I’m already telling people I know about it on a day to day basis, and they’re always asking ‘what’s so good about it?’ I’ve been telling them you don’t have the stress of trying to keep up with traffic, you feel safer on the segregated path, and you’ll save yourself money!”
“It’s also a lot safer than people think, there’s things that make the papers about accidents, but the statistics are that it’s actually safer than you might imagine”.
Finally, we gave Jaimes the opportunity to tell us about how his passion for bikes worked alongside his passion for writing:
‘My biggest passion is E-bike stuff, 3 years ago I studied motorcycle mechanics and I was torn between vintage motor-cycles, bicycles and electric vehicles. After 3 years of research I discovered the sub-genre and sub culture of electric bikes; the electric cruiser bicycles. These are designed to emulate vintage motorcycle style. Many of these conform to the EAPC regulations so would be rideable on the Cycle Superhighway. I put a lot of energy in to my writing and I love blogging about these bikes’.
• Motivated by convenience and cost
• Riding a bike helps control his asthma
• Gives him more time and energy to do other things
• Already acting as an ambassador for the route
• Huge passion for bicycles