Launched in 2012, Cycle to Work Day takes place every August, organised by Cyclescheme. It is the country’s biggest cycle commuting event, with thousands of people pledging to cycle to work and joining in incentives such as a prize draw for participants.
Cycling offers multiple advantages for both the individual cyclist and wider communities, including physical health benefits, mental health benefits, environmental benefits and keeping people’s transport costs down.
As such, in its role as a Community Anchor Organisation, Cornerstone House Centre is keen to work with local partners and communities over the coming period to make it easier for the people of Cumbernauld to incorporate cycling as a form of transport into their daily routines.
Greater Cumbernauld has many green spaces in which people can enjoy cycling for health and exercise, including Palacerigg Country Park, Cumbernauld House Park, Cumbernauld Community Park and Colzium House and Estate, to name just a few.
However, the area also benefits from having a network of dedicated cycle paths, which make it ideal for cycling to be undertaken as a form of commuting. Indeed, those living in Carbrain, Chryston, Croy, Dullatur, Glenboig, Kildrum, Kilsyth, Lenziemill and Moodiesburn all have access to excellent cycling routes for transport to and from Cumbernauld.
Furthermore, the cycle route network in the local area is set to be expanded over the next 10 years as part of North Lanarkshire Council’s The Place The Vision programme. Its Vision for Cumbernauld outlines an intention to develop a grid of connected paths and cycleways across Cumbernauld by 2030.
In recent years, Scottish Government has recognised the increasing value of cycling as a mode of transport culturally, economically and environmentally, investing significantly in a national Active Travel programme. A detailed strategy in this respect is included in Transport Scotland’s Cycling Action Plan for Scotland 2017-20.
“On climate change, Scotland is leading globally, but we must support local action too. We want people to walk and cycle more, reducing our carbon footprint and improving our health.”
Cycling for commuting is playing an important role in people returning to work and social distancing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic too, with pop-up cycling routes becoming popular in many parts of the country.
Through its Cumbernauld GIVES programme, Cornerstone House Centre recently supported this by awarding Chryston Community Council more than £5,000 to purchase eight adult hybrid bikes and bike locks to loan out free of charge to Chryston residents for the purpose of travelling to and from work.
If you live in Greater Cumbernauld and cycling to work is a feasible option for you, take some time to consider the below-highlighted advantages of getting in the saddle.
SEVEN REASONS WHY CYCLING TO WORK COULD BE PERFECT FOR YOU
1. Cycling is a Completely Free Form of Travel
After the initial outlay on a bike or sprucing up an old bike that’s been collecting dust in your garage, cycling is free. You won’t have to fork out on the wear and tear costs of running a car or the price of a bus or train ticket, there’s no need for parking and the only fuel you’ll need is food.
Research has found that if journeys of less than five miles currently taken by car were switched to bike, the average person in Scotland could save nearly £2,000 a year.
2. The Stresses of Travel Congestion Can Be Avoided
It is estimated that motorists spend nearly five days a year stuck in traffic because of mounting congestion on our roads. With traffic and congestion levels expected to increase by more than 50% over the next 20 years, the problem is only set to get worse. Cycling to work means you can avoid the stress of being stuck in a traffic jam.
3. Commuting by Bicycle Builds Physical Activity into Busy Routines
According to Scottish Government, adults should get a minimum 150 minutes of physical activity a week, but a British Heart Foundation Physical Inactivity Report in 2017 found that 39% of the adult population failed to meet this target.
One way to make sure you’re getting enough exercise is to do 30 minutes at least five times a week, which is the perfect length for short, local journeys by bike. Did you know that a 20-minute bike ride can use the same amount of calories as a cappuccino, a bar of chocolate or a glass of wine? In fact, adults who cycle regularly can have fitness levels of someone up to 10 years younger.
4. Increased Chances of Living Longer
Published University of Glasgow research has indicated that people who commute by bike have a 41% lower risk of premature death, a 45% lower risk of developing cancer and a 46% lower risk of developing heart disease.
5. Improved Mental Health and Wellbeing
Physical activity can increase mental alertness, energy, positive mood and self-esteem, as well as reducing stress and anxiety, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Many people find cycling to and from work therapeutic, helping them shake off the stresses of the day.
6. Air Pollution is Reduced and the Local Environment Benefits
It is believed that up to 40,000 early deaths are attributable to air pollution each year in the UK, with only smoking contributing to more early deaths.
Road transport is responsible for 80% of the pollution where legal limits are being broken. Research shows those who travel by car can experience five times higher pollution levels than those who cycle and three and a half times more than those walking the same route.
7. Enjoyment from Connecting with Nature
Cycling brings you closer to nature and the changes in the seasons. Whether it’s spotting wildlife or noticing the leaves changing colour on the trees, two wheels are better than four when it comes to connecting with nature and getting to know your local area. Who knows, you might like it so much that you’ll end up spending your leisure time in the saddle too.
For more information on Cycle to Work Day 2020, including details of how local employees and employers can get involved, visit www.cycletoworkday.org.
Cycling routes in Greater Cumbernauld which are part of The National Cycle Network in Scotland can be searched for by clicking here.