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  • Your cycling stories

    Meet Becca

    Becca
    Sheffield CycleBoost offers free pedal and electric bike loans for employees and residents of Sheffield. Our Becca’s been loaning an electric bike and tells us more:


    Loaning the electric bike couldn’t be easier. CycleBoost showed me how to use the bike and once I was happy with it, I was off (with the offer of more support if I needed help with the bike, route planning or training).


    The bike has made a huge difference to my journey time to and from work, with a single trip taking around 12 minutes. That’s much quicker than my usual bus or walk to work. My 2.6-mile journey could take up 40 minutes by bus and around the same on foot. So, considering both journeys, I’m saving on average 50 minutes of travel time a day. In a week that’s 2,500 less minutes (41 hours) a week of sitting in traffic.


    It allows me to get a bit of a work out in that time too. So, I feel I’m being effective with my time. It’s a great way to unwind after a long day and clear the mind and gives me more time in the evenings, so I feel less stressed trying to cram everything in. And in the morning, it wakes me up – I need to be alert and self-aware whilst on the bike. It’s great to commute to work and not arrive hot and sweaty, but also have the option to make the journey a bit more challenging on the way home.


    It’s also liberating whizzing past all the traffic!


    CycleBoost aims to help more people make journeys by bike, more safely, more often. It’s a partnership between Sheffield City Council, ReCycle Bikes and Pedal Ready and is supported by our sustainable travel team. If you would like your workplace to take part in the CycleBoost programme in Sheffield, contact us: SustainableTravel@sypte.co.uk 


    For further information visit www.sheffieldcycleboost.org

    Meet Avril and John, they're Pedal Ready Trainers

    Avril and John 
     
    Pedal Ready provide cycle training in Rotherham, Doncaster and Sheffield. 
     
    The experienced, friendly trainers can cater for all ability levels, whether you’re a complete beginner learning to ride a bike for the first time or a rider whose looking for some guidance on routes or road safety along the way.

     

    John and Avril are two of the many Pedal Ready trainers. John says, ‘We’re a friendly bunch! And we genuinely love training budding and experienced cyclists in our region’. John who’s been with Pedal Ready for 12 years, is an Open University tutor too. ‘Pedal Ready had just opened its doors when I started with them, so over the years I’ve trained many people to ride and become more confident on a bike. It’s really satisfying when you see people you’ve trained out and about on their bikes. It’s not just a new skill they’ve gained, but it’s the confidence they have and the level of physical activity cycling gives’.
    ‘People come to their first session not really knowing what to expect. It is daunting learning something new or doing something that’s outside of your comfort zone. But that’s why we’re here. People soon relax and enjoy themselves.’

    Avril agrees; ‘People think you have to wear lycra to cycle – you don’t! It is possible to cycle to work or appointments in your normal clothes – especially in the winter months. It needn’t mean you have to have trouser clips or a shower in your workplace.’

    Avril, previously a Park Ranger, joined Pedal Ready in 2013 continues, ‘We can tailor our training for you. Everyone has their own reason for wanting to learn to ride or become more savvy cycling on the road. We’ve trained people that face a variety of barriers. And, as John says it’s really satisfying when you see someone you’ve trained reach their goal. I trained a lady to ride a bike and she went on to cycle from London to Paris with her family!’

    Pedal Ready run group sessions across the region or one to one ‘Bike Buddy’ sessions are also available. Even better, most of the training is free of charge. Visit www.pedalready.co.uk for more information. 

    Meet Yvonne

     YvonneYvonne Witter, Community Health Trainer  
     
    Yvonne first began her cycling journey in 2009 when through a colleague, Avril Wragg, she heard about Pedal Ready cycle training sessions in Hillsborough. Knowing she would be able to attend using the 52 Bus or Supertram services, Yvonne borrowed her nephew’s bike as she didn’t have her own and took up the offer of some 1-2-1 sessions. Since then Yvonne has never looked back.

    Her 1-2-1 lessons and subsequent training took her on an adventure that has continued to this day and much to her delight Yvonne passed the training to become a Cycle Instructor in her own right in December 2018.

    “I always push and challenge myself. In my work as a Health Trainer I am encouraging my clients to get out there and use exercise as a natural remedy to help manage some of their health conditions. Exercise is a great way to improve health & wellbeing – whether that be walking or cycling!”

    Building confidence with regular cycle rides has been crucial for Yvonne to achieve her qualification as a Cycle Instructor. Yvonne recently took part in a ride to Penistone in September with two friends covering 26 miles, during which Yvonne’s skills were called upon.

    “As part of my interest in cycling I also volunteered at the Arches helping to repair and maintain cycles for charity. When my friend got a tyre puncture I was able to step in and repair it for her – something I was really proud of and wouldn’t have been possible without the opportunity to learn cycle maintenance.”

    Incorporating cycling into her life has meant Yvonne can include it in her work. She worked with Tinsley Meadows School and Pedal Ready to set the current Learn to Ride scheme for women in the area. The participants will have the opportunity to go further afield for a group cycling trip to the Peak District with funding from E.ON Tinsley Community fund.

    “The benefits of cycling go further than the obvious health implications. To encourage people, I tell them how much it will help their confidence, mental wellbeing, any feelings of isolation and how it gives them the chance to get out there and explore the area we live in.”

    Crediting Pedal Ready with supporting her endeavours to have not only learned to cycle but to now be ready to teach others, Yvonne says it’s surprising how much it becomes a part of your normal routine. She also offers to help friends and family to become more confident on the roads of Sheffield on a bicycle.

    “I even stopped using transport for work in summer 2018 and clocked up over 100 km in June - "Love to Ride" month! Something I want to keep achieving.” 
     

    Meet Ben   

    CycleBoost case study - Ben Griffiths(1)

    Ben Griffiths works for Jolly IT in central Sheffield. Recently taking part in the CycleBoost bike trials in the city, he took delivery of an e-bike for a month and shared with us his experience…  

    “I actually used the e-bike several times per day - travelling to and from work in the week and then taking 1.5 to 2 hour bike rides most evenings and weekends too. It was simple to adjust to it from a conventional bicycle, it's considerably heavier than my bike & the gears need changing more often than a regular bike. The bonus was it’s so much easier on the hills, I wasn't breaking a sweat when I reached my destinations, and I didn't at all get out of breath (despite being asthmatic!)

    283 miles was my final odometer reading when I returned the e-bike, it's considerably more than usual but not too far from it. I cycle between work & home four times every weekday anyway. As I mentioned I went on a bunch of trips in the evenings and on weekends - these trips were more frequent considering I had this electric bike to try out. Favourite spots I ventured to were Meersbrook Park, Parkwood Springs, Ringinglow lane, Boston Park & Hathersage.

    Overall, it was a huge convenience to me being able to travel so far so easily - I was also able to bring three huge carrier bags back from Aldi each time I went food shopping too. It's ever so tempting to invest in one, but for £1700 I could just about cover a car + insurance.

    This was a great scheme that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I got a lot out of it too. Found some of the most fantastic views (as I was actively seeking up-hills) and I've added a few pictures from my trips too. My only wishes are that I can do it in the heat of summer next time, and for longer!

    Thanks so much to CycleBoost for putting this scheme together!”

     


    Meet Joel   

    Joel_CycleBoost

     Joel was looking to make his commute from Leeds to Sheffield a little easier on his wallet and better for his health. He found the solution when he came across a CycleBoost event in Sheffield City Centre back in March. 
     
    Joel, who lives in Leeds, joined the HGF Ltd Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys as a Trainee Patent Attorney in September last year, and works from their Sheffield Office. Joel told us why he was so keen to sign up for a CycleBoost bike loan:

    ‘I’d been making the journey to work by car or train. Driving was proving expensive and although the train was a better solution I was still looking for a way to be more active. I popped out for lunch and came across the CycleBoost team at their event in Tudor Square. I chatted to the team and signed up there and then for an e-bike loan – easy! I’ll still need to get the train for the biggest part of my journey but cycling to and from the train stations will mean I get more activity into my day.’

    Fast forward four weeks and Joel told us:

    I loved loaning the bike! It actually encouraged me to move to Sheffield, so I could enjoy riding around more, especially along the canal, that was great. So, I have been looking at flats for the past couple of weeks in and around Sheffield with a view to find a flat that is on an enjoyable cycle route.
    It also highlighted the difficulty in trying not to drive (and be greener), as biking to and from the station was fine but getting the bike on and off the train was a bit cumbersome and awkward.

    Ultimately, I’m more aware of how costly driving is, not just for my pocket!’
     
    CycleBoost, which is delivered on behalf of Sheffield City Council, is particularly keen to encourage more people to replace shorter car journeys by travelling to work by bike.
    If you are a medium to large sized business in Sheffield, then CycleBoost can help you to encourage more of your staff to cycle to work. For further information visit www.sheffieldcycleboost.org  


     

     
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