I’ve been without a car for a couple of weeks now and can’t say I’ve really missed it. Today I had to pick up a spare part for our boiler from the local plumbers merchants. It’s about 2 miles away so I hopped on the bike and was there and back in 20 minutes. This is the exact sort of journey I would have previously taken in the car – apparently 70% of all car journeys in this country are less than 5 miles so I was obviously not alone. I live at the top of a big hill, so the return journey was hard work. However, a year ago I couldn’t cycle up the hill without stopping (twice) to catch my breath – today I flew up it. This made me think – what are the advantages and disadvantages of cycling over other forms of transport.
1. Great for exercise, evidenced by my new ability to conquer the steep hill home
2. Low cost (provided you can keep control over the urge to acquire new cycling-accessories)
3. Does not pollute the environment.
4. Faster than walking and no slower than a car in cities. Today I averaged 12mph while running errands.
5. No need to hunt for a parking space – this is a big plus where we live as spaces are scarce.
1. Difficult to move large or multiple items. I will be borrowing my wife’s car tomorrow to deliver all my tools to my new place of work.
2. Not quick over long distances – however it can still be used to travel quickly to a local train station.
3. Safety – not all road users are generous towards the vulnerable cyclist
4. It can leave the rider dirty and smelly after a long ride. Showers at work, combined with cycle-specific clothing may be necessary. Although my new tactic of wearing old football socks seems to work well in keeping my right leg clean!
These are the main advantages and disadvantages which seem to affect me, but feel free to add more …