We are asking residents to ‘Bike Back Better’ this summer to improve their physical and mental health, their bank balance and the environment.
During the coronavirus pandemic lots more people have experienced the joys of cycling; sales of bicycles and cycling accessories increased by 45% last year (an extra £1billions in sales), and a recent survey suggested 28% of people plan to cycle more now than before the pandemic.
Although a higher level of home working is likely to continue, many people will return to their commute for at least part of the week when offices start to reopen. With the increased interest in cycling, there has never been a better time to swap four wheels for two!
There are many benefits to swapping sedentary time sat in the car for cycling. Cycling can increase cardiovascular fitness, burn fat and calories and build strength. It is also good for mental health, producing endorphins, reducing stress and leaving you feeling more energised. Lots of people who have worked from home have saved money on fuel and car maintenance. By cycling, residents can continue to reduce these costs. Finally, cycling is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and air pollution at the same time as taking in your natural surroundings.
As part of the campaign, the council will be sharing details of cycling support available locally to new and returning cyclists, as well as useful resources and helpful tips.
Councillor David Airey, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “The pandemic has shown there is an appetite to cycle more but some people might lack confidence, knowledge of local cycle paths or skills, in changing a bike tyre for instance. The Bike Back Better campaign is about addressing these barriers and encouraging people who may not have cycled in long time to give it another go.
“Once people get back on their bike, they tend to remember how fun it is, so this is all about encouraging people to take that first pedal.”
In partnership with Southampton City Council and Hampshire County Council, we support Sustrans to provide Bikeability training in schools and help businesses increase cycling provision for employees.
We've also recently partnered with Southampton City Council on RIDES, an electric cargo bike hire scheme for local businesses.