Cycling to work on the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway: Meet Richard Atkinson

When Richard accepted a job a new job at Thomas Fawcett & Sons Ltd, a Castleford-based maltsters and malt roasters, he wasn’t sure how he’d get along with the 10-mile commute from Walton, Wakefield without a car.

A train strike led Richard to attempt cycling to Castleford for the first time, taking in parts of the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway en route, and he hasn’t looked back since.

During the first couple of weeks in my current job I thought the train was the only option.
Then one day, fairly early on, there was a train strike and I didn’t have any other option but to cycle.
I thought 10 miles would be too far to commute by bike - I didn’t realise how easy it would be and I’ve carried on cycling to work ever since.
It takes me about 45 minutes, which is not far off what it would take to drive anyway, and with the opening of the new bridge over the Hallam Line on the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway I’ve shaved another three or four minutes off my commute.
I cycle to work all year round.   I aim to get the train part of the way sometimes and that reduces it to four miles, but I generally cycle at least one way, even in the rain.

Space to think, exploring nature and a special “glow”

Commuting by bike helps clear my mind, it allows me to think about the day ahead or the day that’s been, and to work through solutions to problems – things you wouldn’t necessarily have the space to think about when driving because you have to concentrate on the road and other drivers.
Using sections of the greenway means I escape the main roads and enjoy some nature along the way, spotting the occasional heron on the river.
Wherever it is I’m going, I arrive refreshed and alert, and I’m less tired, which sounds unbelievable but it’s true. You just feel like less stale, like you have this glow about you.
I don’t really have time to formally exercise so cycling to work is an easy way to incorporate some physical activity into my week.

Remaining a one car family

We just have one car in the family and my wife uses it for the school pick-ups and drop-offs as my son’s in a wheelchair, so getting him to school any other way isn’t an option.
When I first accepted my job in Castleford I did wonder how I’d get along as I didn’t want to resort to getting a second car.
The options keep improving and these new sections of cycle route are helping me have a really enjoyable ride home.