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HEALTH & WELLBEING

Getting into Cycling in 2021

By RGrant 25 Jan 2021

Cycling is great! Be it for leisure or commuting purposes (or both), cycling is a healthy, convenient and affordable way to get you moving across the city and further. 

To get to university, it can be faster than using public transport, for example it takes around 22 minutes to cycle from Union Street to the Sir Ian Wood Building, versus 24 minutes by bus (as per Google Maps, though bus times can vary). Choosing cycling means that you do not need to walk to the bus stop, wait and queue for a bus and then also pay a bus fare. It is up to you what time you leave home, you just need to take your bike and go; once you do, you can be sure that the duration of your journey (to the same destination) will always be the same. With Covid and the fact you shouldn’t use public transport (except for essential travel) for the time being, cycling can also be used to reach further destinations within the city that are simply too far to walk. Similarly, cycling avoids all the cons of travelling by private car, with none of the parking issues and costs related to driving; you also won’t get stuck in traffic and get stressed.

Cycling is effectively a free mode of transport, if you already have a functioning bike. If you don’t, there’s more information on how to get one, at an affordable price, later in this post. Cycling it’s also a cleaner alternative to bus and car and allows you to get your daily dose of exercise naturally, as you commute from point A to point B. No need for set aside extra time for physical activity, unless you want to go the extra mile of course!

In short cycling is great because it benefits your physical and mental health, your wallet/purse and helps the environment.  That said, there are even more reasons why you should make early 2021 the time you start cycling; so many in fact, that a list is required! Here we go:

  1. Roads are quieter than usual for the time being, as most of Scotland remains in protection level 4 Covid restrictions; this is complemented by extra measures put in place to facilitate active travel (walking/wheeling and cycling) through the Spaces for People initiative.
  2. Days are getting longer. Starting to cycle now will make you more confident by spring/summertime, so that you can make the most of the many hours of daylight ahead. For the time being though, make sure to follow advice on how to safely and legally cycle in the dark, here, while also following Covid restrictions in place.
  3. There are ways in which you can access bikes at an affordable price. RGU Union-run BikePad, located at Woolmanhill Student Accommodations, offers bike hiring, including lights, helmet, lock and reflective jacket, to equip you with all required to get you cycling.
  4. If you already have a bike, but it’s in need of repairs before getting back on the road, BikePad can also do this for you, thanks to the Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme, through which bike repairs up to £50 are free; reach out to BikePad for bike hire or repair enquiries.
  5. RGU now has a Campus Cycling Officer that can help you with any enquiries or further information you may need. He is also keen to hear from you on any issues and barriers to cycling you may have run into and any way he could work towards making sure this is fixed. Email Nicolò Silvani at n.silvani1@rgu.ac.uk.
  6. On-campus cycling facilities improvements are planned, along with a new set of initiatives, for when we are allowed back on campus.
  7. You can participate in the RGU Bicycle User Group on Facebook to ask current cyclists at RGU anything cycling-related and look at existing posts; RGU SPORT has also recently launched an RGU Strava Club, where you can log in you rides/walks/runs to compete with other people at RGU and participate in joint missions, adding a social aspect to staying active.
  8. The Transport team can produce personalised travel plans for your commute to campus (for when we are allowed back), so that you can make an informed decision in the future.

Looking forward to longer days and nicer weather for outdoor sport, as well as the lowering of Covid protection levels when the time is right, we hope that you find this information helpful and that you will include cycling in your 2021 routine, for all the good reasons set out above.



Article by Nicolò Silvani - n.silvani1@rgu.ac.uk

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