NE Lincs Cycle Superhighways proposal

CS LondonLondon mayor Boris Johnson and the DfT have made the term cycling superhighways one that we are familiar with. This is a proposal to have a network of genuine cycle superhighways in NE Lincs, and to ensure they actually do fit the description by being designed and built to top quality standards.

CS2These should not be shared pavements the like of which we see on the Humberston/Healing Pedalways & along part of Scartho Rd, where the limited space is shared with pedestrians and the paths always give way to side streets. On many of the routes proposed below there’s plenty of space to create physically separated, high quality cycle lanes/paths on each side of the road in addition to the pavements. Where there is less space the cycleway should still be separated from motor traffic but be a bi-directional path on just one side of the road.

At present there is clearly no grand plan for cycling although things are improving incrementally. There are a few good quality cycle paths (I’ve featured these here in a previous post), but mainly all we have in NE Lincs is just a hotch-potch of isolated stretches of poor quality painted-on lanes. These do nothing to encourage cycling because they are not safe or pleasant to use.

cs33These proposed five cycle superhighways provide an essential skeleton of major routes around which further minor link routes could be developed as time goes by. If these five routes were established in the way described, they would provide an interconnected, safe and pleasant way to cycle between the main residential areas, the town centres, the main train stations, the main shopping areas/stores and the main areas of employment and education.

This would enable and encourage many more people to use cycling as a means of everyday transport. This not only helps those cycling become healthier by getting daily moderate exercise, but also benefits everyone else by reducing traffic congestion, air pollution and noise pollution, and so makes the whole area a better place to live.

So here are my suggestions for the NE Lincs Cycling Superhighways:

  • CS1 Pleasure Island to the oil refineries (CS1W) and HST (CS1N)
  • CS2 Morrisons to Isaacs Hill
  • CS3 Waltham roundabout to the A180 (CS3W) and Cleethorpes Rd (CS3E)
  • CS4 Grimsby train station to Immingham
  • CS5 Waltham roundabout to Cleethorpes promenade

Of course, the present cycling budget comes nowhere near covering such a proposal. The funding for these five Cycle Superhighways should be provided from the wider transport budget and central government. If £6m can be found for the recent ”green” development in Grimsby town centre, which I’m not alone in thinking provides very little benefit (many would say it has been a complete waste of money), then the funding for such a network of top quality cycle infrastructure, with all its attendant benefits, can and surely should be provided.

The routes in detail:

CS1: From Pleasure Island in Cleethorpes all along Kings Rd to Cleethorpes Leisure Centre, then along the prom to Cleethorpes train station, through the station onto Station Rd then turning left onto Princes Rd to the bottom of Isaacs Hill in Cleethorpes. Turn right all along Grimsby Rd & Cleethorpes Rd to Riby Sq. Take the road between the flyover and the Telegraph offices (the other direction would be routed under the flyover). Along this road a cycle bridge gently rises to cross the railway line and comes down before the turning for King Edward St. Continuing along Cleethorpe Rd by The Landings, crossing Victoria St and continuing alongside the A180 on the Westward (out of town) side. Once level with Charlton St another cycle bridge gently rises to cross the A180 and comes down at the top of Moody Lane. Continuing along the full length of Moody Lane, a new connecting stretch of cyclepath apx 200m long, with a bridge over the beck, connects with Hobson Way. (I’ve previously written about this here). Along Hobson Way, Laporte Rd (passing Immingham Docks eastgate), then left along Queens Rd, Kings Rd, to the very end of Manby Rd. The route then spurs in two directions:

  • CS1 West: west along Humber Rd (A160) to the lights at the Jet garage opposite the refinery
  • CS1 North: north along Rosper Rd as far as HST on Clough Rd. (This last section from Immingham to Killingholme would require agreement between both NE Linc Council and North Linconshire Council.)

CS2: All the way from alongside Morrisons, the full length of Laceby Rd, across Nunns Corner, then along Weelsby Rd, Clee Rd right through to Isaacs Hill roundabout, where it connects with CS1.

CS3: From Waltham roundabout all along Waltham Rd, Scartho Rd (removing a lane of traffic where necessary to create space for a bi-directional cycleway), around Nunns Corner (crossing CS2) onto Bargate (I’ve written about Bargate in an earlier post here). At the junction with Brighowgate CS3 forks into two:

  • CS3 East: along Brighowgate to Grimsby town station, out onto Osborne St, East St past the Town Hall, right onto Pasture St, left onto East Robinson St, left onto Holles St, right onto Ellis Way, over Hainton Sq onto Eleanor St, left onto Convamore Rd then Victor St connecting with CS1 at Cleethorpes Rd.
  • CS3 West: continuing along Bargate, Cartergate, left onto Lord St, right onto Anderson St, left along the river, right onto Earl St, along Freshney Drve, Yarborough Drive, Freshney Drive, left onto Corporation Rd, right onto Charlton St, connecting with CS1 at the cycle bridge over the A180.

CS4: From Grimsby train station through St James Square, Chantry Lane, Littlefield Lane, Cromwell Rd, Yarborough Rd, then along the route of the Healing Pedalway through to Healing on Great Coates Rd, then extending beyond Healing on Stallingborough Rd through to Stallingborough and on to Immingham. Along Pelham Rd to connect to CS1 at Manby Rd.

CS5: From Waltham roundabout along Station Rd past Toll Bar school, left along Louth Rd, along Peaks Parkway, Hewitt’s Ave, Taylors Ave and Queens Parade to connect with CS1.

Cycling NEL

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There’s a new public group on Facebook for all interested in cycling in North East Lincolnshire (on the east coast of England, for all those who view this blog from abroad). Please feel free to get involved with it. The whole idea is simply to promote all forms of cycling and a cycling culture in the area.

Geographically it’s a perfect place for cycling, very ‘Dutchesque’, but it seems until there is a visible genuine demand for better facilities and infrastructure things will improve only at a snails pace, as those involved in advancing the cycling agenda on the local council feed on the crumbs that fall from the motor traffic table, so to speak.

As we see cycling taking a more prominent place in the nations transport agenda with the planned Crossrail for Cycling in London and various campaigns, notably Space4cycling, Stop Killing Cyclists, 20splenty, etc, it’s clearly time for cycling to have more of an impact locally here in NE Lincs.

More on the Bike Tube proposal

It’s important to bear in mind this proposal is designed for enabling the majority of people in NE Lincs to use a bike instead of a car for everyday local transport, as well as commuting to the main industrial areas along the Humber bank.

This means literally thousands of people cycling every day! The proposal isn’t to accommodate present levels of cycling. As discussed in the earlier Vision posts, people don’t cycle at present because it’s perceived as being unsafe, uncomfortable and inconvenient. By making it safe, comfortable and convenient, as well as low-cost, healthy and enjoyable, I believe literally thousands of people would cycle instead of drive. The aim of this proposal is to get the majority of people making the majority of their local journeys by bike instead of car.

The Tube could enter into Freshney Place parking area directly. Image from velo-city.ca

The Tube could enter into Freshney Place parking area directly. Image from velo-city.ca

In the proposal, the centre of Grimsby the section has five junctions: Welholme, Grimsby train station, Cromwell Road, Ellis Way and Freshney Place. The junction at Freshney Place is unique in that it runs into the building itself at the first (or second) floor level. There would be no need for entry/exit ramps. That entire floor would be given over to cycle parking instead of car parking. The number of bikes that could be parked there would be in the region of 25 times the number of cars that presently park on that floor (ten bikes fit in one car space, which would be double stacked, plus extra space for bikes due to less space taken by access space).

The whole idea of the Bike Tube is to make it safe, comfortable and convenient for people who currently wouldn’t consider cycling to use bikes for their everyday transport. That’s the majority of people living in NE Lincs! The prospect of being able to cycle straight into the shopping centre directly from the Bike Tube increases the convenience and practicality of the scheme to such people. This would also provide secure bike parking for other users, not just shoppers, those coming into town to work, for instance. The present parking facility at the Cycle Hub would be wholly insufficient hence the parking in Freshney Place, but the Cycle Hub at the train station could be expanded to provide increased facilities to the town centre south area.

Likewise there would be junctions at each of the main superstores, with the exception of Sainsbury’s (unless the Tube could be routed across Corporation Rd Bridge with a junction at Sainsbury’s then on to Freshney Place, instead of directly from Asda to Freshney Place).

Another aspect of the Tube concerns the dock areas in Grimsby and Immingham. Because the Tube is enclosed and secure, there is no security issue for the dock operators as people can only enter or exit at the junctions, as on a normal motorway. Hence, the Tube could be routed through dock areas (with all the necessary permissions and agreements, of course) with no security issues. The route which crosses the lock at Lock Hill in Grimsby would need to be sufficiently high as to ensure the passage of all vessels through the lock. At Immingham Dock, if the Tube is routed through the dock and featured a junction there (I believe there should be access there as it is an area of major employment), there could be a new security gate at this junction to deal entirely with cyclists arriving/leaving the dock.

Nomenclature and Junctions

A map of the proposed Bike Tube network in Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

A map of the proposed Bike Tube network in Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

If we were to number the Tube sections following the motorway numbering convention, then we could number the Grimsby/Cleethorpes area as follows:

T1: Meridian Point to Europarc (and on to Humber Sea Terminal (HST), at Killingholme)

T2: Europarc to Waltham

T3: Waltham to Meridian Point

T4: New Waltham to Riby Square

T5: Ellis Way to Grimsby Auditorium

T6: Pyewipe to Wybers Wood

T7: Blundell Park to Scartho

T8: Laceby Acres to Laceby

List of proposed junctions by Tube section, as indicated on the map:

T1: Meridian Point, Cleethorpes Leisure Centre, Seaview St, Cleethorpes Train Station, Blundell Park, New Clee, Riby Square, Moody Lane, Pyewipe, Woad Lane, Europarc.

T2: Europarc, Great Coates, Aylesby park, Wybers Wood, Laceby Acres (Morrisons), Bradley, Scartho Top, Springfield, Waltham.

T3: Waltham, Toll Bar, New Waltham, Humberston (Tesco), Country Park, Meridian Point.

T4: New Waltham, Peaks Parkway (YMCA), Welholme, Ellis Way (Asda), Riby Square.

T5: Ellis Way (Asda), Freshney Place (north) / Grimsby Train Station (south), Cromwell Rd, Market Hotel Roundabout, Auditorium.

T6: Pyewipe, Gilbey Rd, Auditorium, Little Coates, Wybers Wood.

T7: Blundell Park, Queen mary Ave, Runswick Rd (Ploggers), Weelsby Rd (behind Beverley Cres, not at St Andrews Hospice as shown on the map), Peaks Parkway (YMCA), Scartho.

T8: Laceby Acres (Morrisons), Laceby.

Vision: a revolution in urban transport

I concluded the last post in this series by saying:

As things stand, massive amounts of money have been allocated to the budget for implementing the vision for our roads over the years. But what if, having seen the huge benefits cycling brings, a large part of the transport budget was devoted to implementing the new vision of healthy, sustainable urban transport? What if, instead of integrating the car into all the planning decisions, it was the bicycle that featured in the centre of the planning decisions? And by doing so, as well as the existing cycling benefits of health, wealth and environmental goodness, we could add safety, comfort and convenience?

The Dutch have demonstrated how to integrate cycling into existing road infrastructure, and by consistently designing this into their road plans, they have created a very desirable network of relatively safe cycleways. I say relatively, because, although he Netherlands is without doubt the safest country in the world to be a cyclist, I was surprised to read the following statistics on cycling accidents and deaths in the Netherlands:

In 2009, there were 185 cyclists killed on Dutch roads. In 2010, that number was 162 killed and in 2011 there were 200 cyclists killed.

These figures surprised me, I expected them to be lower, given the excellent cycling infrastructure in The Netherlands. This reminded me of a BBC documentary I saw in the mid 1990’s about the Russian Federation following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was a time of economic crisis and difficult transition. The question was though, a transition to what exactly? One young profession Russian was interviewed on the streets of Moscow and his comments struck me. He said that Russia had left the Communist days behind, and many in the country were looking to become like the West. But he said, if Russia aimed at where the West was then, by the time Russia had arrived at that point, the West would have moved on and Russia would still be behind. Rather than imitate the West as it was then, he suggested why not look to the direction the West was heading in and aim there instead.

This was an insightful comment and we can apply it to our cycling vision for the future. What the Netherlands has today has taken decades of consistent planning and funding, and we are not going to be able to replicate it here in the UK overnight. So, instead of copying where the Netherlands is now, why not look beyond that and plan for the future, something better than exists today?

What the Netherlands has done is demonstrate how to incorporate cycling into everyday life, sharing the road space with other traffic by building separated cycleways. However, I believe this is only part of the “ideal”. Cycling on these cycleways is still unpleasant when the rain is pouring down and the wind howling in your face. And the statistics show people are still being killed whilst cycling in the Netherlands.  So, as good as it is there, and it is the best in the world at present, it’s still far from perfect.

I believe there is a way to build both on the Dutch shoulders, so to speak, and to incorporate the thinking of architects like Chris Hardwicke and Steven Fleming, to create something that is truly a step into the future, a giant stride forward instead of nibbling around the edges of minor infrastructural improvements.

Taking all these thoughts and factors into account, what then is the way forward? By taking the ideas of Chris Hardwicke in Toronto and developing them further, I propose a completely new and radical approach that incorporates all the existing cycling benefits of health, wealth and environmental goodness, and combines them with safety, comfort and convenience. A network of urban “motorways” for cycling! This vision is for a low-tech urban mass transit system, far more cost-effective, efficient and environmentally friendly than the alternative of ever increasing levels of motor vehicle use. It is a system of enclosed, one-directional back-draughted tubes, elevated above existing roads and rail lines, forming a perfect environment for urban cycling, fully protected from the weather. We could call it the Bike Tube!

Velo-City proposal in Toronto. In NE Lincs, this would be 3m wide enclosed, uni-directional tubes, with a constant back wind enabling comfortable and safe urban cycling .

Velo-City proposal in Toronto. In NE Lincs, this would be pairs of enclosed, uni-directional tubes, with a constant back wind enabling comfortable and safe urban cycling. Image from velo-city.ca

_________

 Imagine the scene: It’s a cold, wet and windy Monday morning, and you’re about to leave for work. You put on your coat, hat and gloves, and cycle the short distance from your home (for example, on Middlethorpe Road), along the separated cycleway to the nearest junction of the Bike Tube at Humberston, near Tesco’s. Your keyless-entry fob in your pocket opens the automated gate and you proceed up the entry ramp, assisted by the moving elevator up to the Tube itself. As you enter, you’re suddenly in a different world.

Riding along in a 3-4m wide transparent tube, you’re protected from the wintry conditions outside. Instead of riding into a head wind, you’re now riding along comfortably at 15-20 mph because of the continuous back wind flowing throughout the length of the Tube. It’s not at all cold in the Tube, just a pleasant ambient temperature, perfect for cycling. There are no motorised vehicles here, no traffic lights and no pedestrians, just cyclists, hundreds of them, all moving comfortably, safely and quickly around the network to their destinations. Each of the various junctions you pass, with their ramps down to the streets below, are signed and laned off, and other cyclists move into those lanes to  leave the Tube at those junctions, just like on a motorway for cars.

Many exit in the centre of town at the train station, others have branched off to head for the major indoor junction on the first floor at Freshney Place, but you carry on. You’ve still got another 15 minutes until you reach your junction at Immingham Docks, but it’s no problem. Far from it – you’re comfortable and enjoying the view as you ease along the elevated Tube, the rain pounding against the Tube while you serenely cycle above the train line out of town before cutting through the industrial areas and on up to your exit junction, just half a mile from your place of work.

_________

OK, it’s just a scenario, but it’s trying to paint a picture of what it could be like. The Bike Tube is a network of elevated tubes, one in each direction, with a flow of air throughout the length of the Tube in the direction of travel. This provides a perfect environment for cycling even long distances. Each terminus of each tube would have a fan generating the back-draft, and this could be supplemented by smaller thruster fans along the route. The ceiling of each tube could incorporate solar panels to generate all the power required during daylight hours, with renewable energy used during the hours of darkness. During darkness, sensors detect the presence of cyclists and ensure each forward segment is lit for their passage through that section, thus saving power.

The Bike Tube has a small ground footprint (the support column) and features two "carriageways" of tubes, one in each direction, just as in a motorway for cars. The NE Lincs Bike Tube would incorporate solar panels along the ceiling of each tube, and could be screened when passing through sensitive areas by tall trees such as Poplars.

The Bike Tube has a small ground footprint (the support column) and features two “carriageways” of tubes, one in each direction, just as in a motorway for cars. The NE Lincs Bike Tube would incorporate solar panels along the ceiling of each tube, and could be screened when passing through sensitive areas by tall trees such as Poplars. Image from Velo-City.ca

Such a network of Bike Tubes would elevate cycling, with all its inherent benefits, to the level of use that we see cars have today – a stunning urban transport revolution. At the junctions of the Tube, there would be a connected network of Dutch-style (ie, separated from the road) cycleways, including an exit/entrance cycle roundabout (as with motorways today), so that the Tube is integrated within the overall network, much as motorways are connected to urban roads. It’s exactly the same principle, only this time for bikes!

The main routes for the Tube in NE Lincs would initially be built over existing rail lines and along Peakes Parkway (previously a rail line), with additional routes added to complete the network. Main termini would be at Waltham and Meridian Point in Cleethorpes in the south, with a spur from Peakes Parkway to Scartho and a longer spur from Laceby Acres (Morrison’s) to Laceby. Nowhere within the Grimsby/Cleethorpes area would be more than a mile from a Bike Tube junction.

A map of the proposed Bike Tube network in Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

A map of the proposed Bike Tube network in Grimsby and Cleethorpes. (click to enlarge)

The Bike Tube would continue along the Humber bank from Europarc, serving the main industrial areas there, spurring off to connect Stallingborough, then continuing onwards to Immingham Dock, Immingham town and on to the oil refineries and northwards to HST and, very importantly, the huge forthcoming Able UK development. It will be massively important to be able to accommodate the large numbers of people commuting to this area in an environmentally friendly way. The Bike Tube would realistically enable mass commuting to these areas from Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Immingham by bicycle.

The running costs could be covered, at least in part, by an annual charge, for instance, of £30 for access to the Tube network. Initial development and funding would of course be major issues, but given the huge potential ongoing benefits such an innovative solution would provide (improved health for all cycling instead of driving, reductions in road maintenance costs due to reduced volumes of motor traffic, increased tourist interest in the area, etc) such costs (which could partly be borne by central Government and private industry) would surely be more than justified in the long term. The Bike Tube footprint on the ground would be minimal (just the support columns and entry/exit ramps), and where it passes by housing (kept to an absolute minimum) or other sensitive areas, such as close to the cemetery, it could be screened by planting tall trees such as Poplars.

Of course, this would be a radical development and no doubt would be controversial. I believe its significance is on a par with the development of the railway back in the 1800’s. However, as I described in earlier parts of this series, we need a radical rethinking of urban transportation. This solution is a sustainable, clean, green, quiet, low cost, health-inducing form of mass urban transit.

The Bike Tube network would be a landmark structure, a tourist attraction for the area. It also would be an innovative solution to the various aspects of urban transport – environmental, noise pollution, petrol/diesel fume pollution, and congestion on the roads. By making it practical and convenient for people to leave the car at home and go by bike, the roads themselves would be quieter with fewer cars, and subsequently fewer traffic accidents. It represents a solution that I believe would take us forward as a society.

Vision: What if?

In the last two posts we looked at the pro’s and con’s of cycling as it currently exists in the UK today. In summary, cycling is very good for you, your pocket and the environment but current cycling infrastructure and provision does not encourage or accommodate everyday cycling. Quite the opposite in fact, it puts people off getting on a bike.

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We have a long term problem: our towns and cities have been designed around the motor car. Billions of Great British Pounds are devoted to the vision of cities built around cars, the vision that was sold to the world by people like Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright and Norman Bel Geddes with his 1939 Futurama. It started with a vision which has been faithfully implemented by planners and politicians, but has resulted in frequently gridlocked traffic choking towns and cities, pouring out pollution, and our urban spaces dominated by corridors of noisy and dangerous traffic.

Of course we need cars and trucks, I’m not suggesting we get rid of them, but what I am saying there is a better way of organising our urban landscapes so that we accommodate people instead of cars.

Today there are new visionaries who are providing us with an alternative. Architects such as Jan Gehl and Bjarke Ingels recognise the motor car is unsustainable and undesirable as the central fulcrum of urban design. Australian architect Steven Fleming, on his excellent and inspiring blog Behooving Moving, describes himself as being on a mission to put cycling on the agendas of architects, urban designers and fellow academics, who see the potential for bicycles to change cities and buildings”. And Toronto architect Chris Hardwicke has a particularly insightful vision of the way forward.

Many cities are beginning to recognise there is a better way to do things, and this usually includes better provision for people to cycle.

As things stand, massive amounts of money have been allocated to the budget for implementing the vision for our roads over the years. But what if, having seen the huge benefits cycling brings, a large part of the transport budget was devoted to implementing the new vision of healthy, sustainable urban transport? What if, instead of integrating the car into all the planning decisions, it was the bicycle that featured in the centre of the planning decisions? And by doing so, as well as the existing cycling benefits of health, wealth and environmental goodness, we could add safety, comfort and convenience?

If all these things were possible, then the answer surely has to be that such a vision is worthy of serious consideration. And that’s what we’re going to do in the next part of this series.

Vision: Pro’s and Con’s (2)

In the first article, we said the principle benefits of cycling were health and fitness, financial, environmental and actual enjoyment. In this post we’ll look at the downsides of cycling, but to be clear, what I’m referring to here are the downsides of cycling as things are at the moment, with the state of our roads and cycling provision as it is at present.

Given the recent publicity cycling has had with the spate of deaths of cyclists in London in particular, first and foremost of the downsides is SAFETY.

Some people say cycling is dangerous. It’s not. What is dangerous is having to cycle in the same space used by cars, trucks and buses. That IS dangerous! When cyclists have to ride on the same road space as traffic, it’s inevitable it will be dangerous. However, in places where cycling has its own space, like The Netherlands and Copenhagen for instance, then the level of safety rises enormously.

The other main downside of cycling, as this stand at present, is comfort and practically. It may be impractical for some people to cycle because they’re unwell or simply not physically able to ride a bike, that’s fair enough of course. What I’m referring to here are these sort of issues: where do I park my bike safely (security)? How do I get to where I’m going (lack of safe cycle routes)? What if it’s pouring down or blowing a gale, or both? Or snowing? (bad weather).

Cycling in the Copenhagen snow! (Photo: Copenhagen Cycle Chic)

Cycling in the Copenhagen snow! (Photo: Copenhagen Cycle Chic)

These are genuine issues that anyone contemplating cycling as a means of urban transport in Britain today will consider. And many people consider them too much of an obstacle. Why indeed should people take to their bikes on a cold and windy day, when they have a nice, warm comfortable car on their drive? Indeed. In fact, it’s only those who really want to cycle who do, because our towns and cities do not accommodate cycling. In fact a lot of the time, if you cycle, you’re made to feel a second class citizen, far less important than if you drive.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though! In the next part of this series, we’ll look at how it can be different!

Vision: Pro’s and Con’s (1)

In order to clarify the vision for cycling, I believe we first need to clearly recognise what the benefits of cycling are. However, as things stand today, there are clearly drawbacks to cycling as well, and we’ll look at those in part 2. Here though, are the main benefits of cycling:

Health: However you use a bike, when you cycle it helps you get healthier. Whether it’s using a bike to cycle into town, to cycle to work, to go for a leisure ride in the countryside or you’re into speed cycling, when you cycle you’re getting active. This is good for you! Your body was designed to be active! Inactivity is contributing to the levels of obesity in our society that is in turn putting huge strains on the NHS. Cycling helps you be healthy. As a result, you’ll be less likely to suffer from colds and general illnesses, so you’ll need less time off work due to sickness. 🙂

Fitness: When you ride regularly, such as commute to work using a bike, your levels of fitness rise. When you’re fitter you feel better in yourself. By being fitter, you’ll be able to do more and enjoy a wider range of activities, such as other sports, walking, etc. 🙂

Money (1): It’s simple! If you go by bike instead of by car you’ll save money on fuel! I bought my bike three years ago on a Cycle to Work scheme. What it cost me per month was largely offset by the amount of fuel I saved by cycling to work instead of driving. After one year the bike was paid for and so every time I cycle instead of using the car I save money. Simples! Also, as I use my car less by going places using my bike more, I’m putting less wear and tear on my car, reducing my maintenance costs, less miles on the clock means less wear on the tyres etc, etc! 🙂

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Money (2): People often criticise cyclists saying they don’t pay road tax. Well, road tax was abolished a long time ago, and what drivers are charged is actually Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). This is calculated on how polluting your vehicle is, so that the more your car pollutes the atmosphere, the more you pay. Sounds fair enough? Of course. So, as cyclists create no pollution it’s fair enough we don’t pay VED! 🙂

Environment: Leading on from the last benefit, by cycling you create less pollution, which is obviously good for the planet (as people are want to say these days!). It’s also good for us here and now, though, because who wants to breathe in polluted air full of exhaust fumes? Not me!

Environment (2): Not only is it engine fumes that pollute the air, but also cars create noise! Noise pollution from traffic is something we almost don’t notice until we get away from it and realise how much nicer the place is when there’s no road noise. When you cycle, you make almost no noise. 🙂

There’s two more benefits that are less tangible but no less real:

Fun: Cycling is enjoyable. The actual act of cycling is a pleasurable thing. I’m not talking about cycling into a head wind and heavy rain, that’s not much fun of course, but I mean the simple act of cycling is fun and enjoyable. 🙂

Anne-Katrine in Copenhagen (phot from Copenhagen Cycle Chic)

Anne-Katrine in Copenhagen (photo from Copenhagen Cycle Chic)

Cool: In many places around the world, people are realising it’s actually pretty cool to cycle, too. It’s long been cool to cycle in places like Copenhagen and The Netherlands, but look at the various Cycle Chic websites and you’ll see how cool it’s becoming in lots of places including New York, Montreal, Malmo in Sweden, Berlin, Barcelona etc, etc. 🙂

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