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How to cycle safely and sustainably

Cycling is great for the planet, your health and it can be a fun activity for children and adults alike. If you are a beginner, it is not always easy to know where to start. If you’d like to learn more about cycling in South Yorkshire, keep reading!

Why is cycling good for the planet?

It was reported that transport is the largest emitting sector of greenhouse gas emissions, producing 27% of the UK’s total emissions in 2019. Cars and taxis made up 61% of the emissions from road transport, and air pollution caused by vehicle emissions tends to be higher in cities and towns, where road traffic is concentrated. 

Fortunately, the environmental impact of cycling is a lot lower than driving. Most of the emissions from cycling are indirect, meaning that they occur mostly in the bicycle’s manufacture – a great reason to buy your bike secondhand or to borrow one. 

By swapping driving for cycling, you are reducing the number of vehicles on the road. It might seem like a small impact, but you are helping to reduce traffic congestion and therefore reducing the level of emissions produced. 

Reasons to start cycling

If you are able to cycle short journeys instead of taking the car, there could be many benefits for yourself, your family and your community. It was found that around 60% of 1-2 mile trips are made by car in England. This presents a great opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by replacing these short car journeys with active travel. Swapping driving for cycling could also save you money on vehicle fuel. 

Part of working towards a more sustainable future for people and the planet is ensuring that we are all healthier and happier in our everyday lives. Cycling is great for your physical and mental health. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and can boost your mood if you are feeling down. 

When more of us cycle, air pollution, congestion and noise will be reduced in our communities, making them more pleasant places to live. We will also need more traffic-free green spaces to accommodate the increase in active travel. These green spaces would be beneficial for our environment if they are filled with trees and other plants, which absorb carbon dioxide from the air. Better air quality will have a positive impact on our individual health, as well as the health of others in our communities. 

So, are you ready to give cycling a go?

How can you get involved in cycling in South Yorkshire?

By taking small steps to reduce your environmental impact, you can make a big difference, and there are plenty of ways to incorporate cycling into your routine. 

  • Take part in some cycle safety training, and make sure you have the correct safety equipment. You don’t have to be an expert, but there are some important things you should know before you start cycling. Bikeability can help you find a course in your area, which will teach you essential safety measures and cycling tips, preparing you for going out on the road. 
  • Cycle short journeys. Instead of using the car for quick journeys, cycling could save you a bit of cash and, potentially, time! It is also a good opportunity to spend more time outdoors. 
  • Rent a bicycle for a day! If you don’t feel ready to commit to buying a bike, why not try it out by renting a bike, or borrowing one from a friend or neighbour? 
  • Cycling doesn’t just have to be functional, it can be fun too! Make cycling a social event or a family activity. It is a great way to explore your city or your local green space. 
  • Spread the word! Maybe you’re already a committed cyclist. Why not shout about your success and encourage others to do the same, by using the hashtag #candosouthyorkshire on social media? 

 

Links and resources:

To find a Bikeability course near you: Bikeability | Find cycle training courses offered in your area

For important bike safety information: Bikeability | Before the Bikeability Course – Get Ready

For cyclists based in Doncaster: Get involved in cycling – Doncaster Council

For cyclists based in Barnsley: Cycle lanes and routes (barnsley.gov.uk) 

For cyclists based in Rotherham: Cycle Rotherham

To find out more about CycleSheffield’s work: About us – Cycle Sheffield

To connect with other cyclists: Home : Love to Ride

To plan your cycling route: https://www.cyclestreets.net/ 

Cycle Sheffield

Cycle Sheffield campaign for a cycle friendly Sheffield where anyone can choose to make their journey by bike. They want cycling to be inclusive and easy, not limited to the quick and the brave.

Find out more about Cycle Sheffield here!
Sustrans

We’re the charity making it easier for people to walk and cycle. We bring people together to create places with clean air and green spaces, where friends and facilities are just a short walk away.  We want to see cities and towns where everyone can thrive without having to use a car.

 

Find out more about Sustrans here!