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Taking up cycling is a healthy, fun, and sociable way of helping the environment
Cycling can help tackle the climate crisis. The UK has pledged to get to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 but emissions from transport continue to rise. We’re not going to get to net-zero without dramatic changes to how we travel, and cycling will need to be a part of that evolution.
Cycling for leisure, cycling to commute, cycling to school and cycling for errands can all contribute. Cycling is the lowest carbon-per-kilometre mode of transport – did you know that it’s even better than walking?
According to BikeRadar, cycling has a carbon footprint of about 21g of CO2 per kilometre. That’s less than walking or getting the bus and less than a tenth of the emissions of driving. This even includes the food consumed to provide the calories you need, and manufacturing the bike!
Surface transport (predominantly cars of course) is now the primary source of greenhouse gases in the UK. This is reflected across Europe and in other countries too.
Cycling can also …
- cut traffic congestion
- address health problems associated with our sedentary lifestyle
- cut sick days
- increase life expectancy
- benefit the economy
- cut particulate air pollution
- be hugely enjoyable fun!
We have to acknowledge, of course, that there are obviously costs involved in buying and maintaining a bike, but these do not have to be high. There is no need, especially at first, to spend a lot on a new bike, a basic second-hand bike is a great start. Take a look on Freecycle, Ebay and FaceBook Marketplace as starting points, or visit a local bike shop where often second hand bikes and good advice can be found.
Do make sure that you have a bike checked over by a competent person before you ride it though … brakes, tyres, gears and chain all need to be in good condition. Stay safe!
When and where to cycle
- to and from work
- to the local shops (perhaps buy a basket or panier for your bike)
- to and from school
- local parks and quiet roads as a leisure activity
- instead of paying for gym membership
- with friends and family at the weekend … cycling and chatting is easy and very sociable
- dedicated cycle paths and bike parks
- off-road where permitted (check carefully)
- around a nearby reservoir or country park
Who knows … one small change of lifestyle now, the Tour De France later!