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Everyday cycling for the planet and for us!

Our transport addiction is killing our planet, our communities and ourselves. Transport accounts for a third of our CO2 emissions, and most of the air pollution that kills 100,000 people a year in Britain alone, almost as many as smoking. That’s a Chernobyl every week.

Havant is grid-locked, and parking is a nightmare.

It doesn’t have to be this way!  In the Netherlands, a third of all journeys under 5 miles are by bike, and another third on foot or public transport.  Most kids walk or cycle to school, and people of all ages do their shopping by bike. Their town centres are pleasant places, because there are so few cars, and no need for huge car parks! And that’s because they’ve invested in a network of smooth, traffic-free cycle paths, that are a pleasure to use by people of all ages and abilities.

Cycling is also great for our health. There’s strong evidence to suggest regular cyclists live an extra 2 years, but even better, get 10 extra years of healthy life. You don’t see many obese people in Holland. Pedaling is non-impacting, unlike running, protecting our knees and hips. 

People say cycling is dangerous, because a cyclist death makes headline news. But you don’t hear about the other 1,500 road deaths every year, or the 80,000 silent deaths every year from lack of exercise. Actually, you’re 20 times more likely to get health benefits than harm.

But it should be safer still, and more pleasant, as it is in Holland. Havant Borough Council is now planning for the next 15 years by creating its Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP), and Cycle Hayling and Cycling UK is helping them. Tell us and Havant Borough Council what should be in it! Contact Wilf Farrow at [email protected] for more details.

 

What can we do now, as Havant residents?

  • Cycle more, drive less
  • Walk or cycle to school, to the shops, to work
  • Cycle with others – there are leisure rides from Havant Spring Theatre most days of the week, to suit most abilities. See PortsmouthCTC.org.uk
  • Demand the council improves our cycle paths
  • Persuade our friends & children to do the same

 

How do I start?

  • Get confident on quiet roads first
  • Build up your fitness gently
  • Everyday cycling can be in everyday clothes!
  • A comfortable bike you enjoy riding is better than a fast bike
  • You don’t need to spend a fortune on a bike (it’s more nickable)
  • But do invest in good hi-vis waterproofs, lock, helmet and lights
  • And good puncture-proof tyres
  • A helmet or bar mirror will build confidence
  • If you’re shopping, invest in a rack and panniers
  • Lock it up securely
  • A tiny bit of bike maintenance makes the world of difference
  • Consider a folding bike, especially if your journeys include trains or space is tight
  • A good e-bike will double your comfortable range, and is a hundred times greener than an electric car, and nearly that much cheaper. Tips at cyclehayling.org.uk/hayling-islander-article-october-2018/

Above all, ask for advice. There’s a wealth of it on the web, but Cycle Hayling has some great tips at www.cyclehayling.org.uk/get-cycling/

Britain used to be a nation of everyday cyclists, and greener and healthier for it.  It’s time to free up our roads and communities, and get Britain cycling again!