Cycling Stories — Andrew
With the Newark stage of the Tour Of Britain just weeks away we are sharing stories from local cyclists to find out a little more about them and their love of life on two wheels.
The first story is from our very own Managing Director, Andrew Stafford.
Why we should cycle to work in Newark.
I first started cycling to work in the year 2000 when I was commuting the 19 or so miles from my home near Southwell to Boots in Nottingham. It was taking me just short of a (very frustrating) hour each way in the car and I felt I was wasting a large chunk of my day sat in Nottingham-bound traffic.
At the same time I had a young family and was struggling to find time to exercise so the solution was clear – why not cycle to work? I figured it wouldn’t take much longer than driving and would soon turn me into a slimmer and fitter version of my previous self.
It took about three months before an ambulance was picking me up off the road at Burton Joyce after a minor disagreement with a car transporter.
It wasn’t my fault, it was all down to the impatience of the driver who tried to squeeze past — in those days I didn’t understand the safety benefits of ‘taking the lane’.
It didn’t put me off for long though and now I’m regularly found cycling from Rolleston to our design and marketing studio just outside Newark. It’s a relatively safe trip and I generally find Newark drivers are good to share the roads with.
My route takes me on quiet country roads from Rolleston to Averham where I join the A617. At this point it would be really helpful (to motorists as well as myself) if there was a cycle path — but there isn’t and so it’s an illegal (but comparatively safe) ride on the pedestrian free footpath past Kelham Hall and Newark Rugby Club into Town. Newark town centre traffic is relatively slow, light and courteous and then it’s off up Beacon Hill to get the heart rate up and out of Newark via Coddington.
So why do I do it?
- I feel happier – starting and ending the day with exercise and fresh air works wonders for your attitude and productivity. I reckon I have a 20% better day when I cycle rather than drive.
- I’ll live longer (assuming I avoid car transporters) — according to the British Heart Foundation, around 10,000 fatal heart attacks could be avoided in the UK each year if people kept themselves fitter — which compares to around 100 cycling fatalities per year in the UK (ROSPA, 2015).
- It’s a bit cheaper — I don’t have a long journey and I reckon fuel only costs me about £3 per day but that’s more than an energy gel and an isotonic drink.
- It keeps me (reasonably) lean — without trying too hard and spending hours in the gym.
- It means I do my bit — nearly a quarter of the UK’s CO2 emissions come from road transport. Cycling gives me a zero emission commute and eases the guilt for my personal carbon footprint.
Newark is a great place to cycle and it would be even better if there was a few half-decent cycle paths, the road surfaces were better maintained and there were more cyclists to share the roads with. Let’s hope Stage 4 of the Tour of Britain encourages the people of Newark to get on their bikes.