"Door-to-door in half an hour" - how Aggie cycles from home in Halifax to work in Bradford
Aggie Maxwell is a cycling instructor at Capital of Cycling, a social enterprise in Bradford. She commutes to work from Halifax, Calderdale, using an e-bike for some of the journey. We caught up with Aggie to chat about why she chooses cycling to help her get to work.
When did you start cycling?
"I learnt to ride 8 years ago, at the tender age of 38, having never learnt to ride as a child. It wasn’t long before I caught the bug and signed up to every Breeze ride going, taking my kids on riverside pootles. It was probably a good few years before I even attempted to ride to work and even then, it was only intermittently. I lived in Tyneside and worked in Newcastle – the Metro was just too quick for me to choose to ride!
“Roll on a few years and I moved back to West Yorkshire, Halifax in fact, and got a job at Capital of Cycling in the centre of Bradford. I weighed up my options for getting to work. You’d think that working for a cycling organisation that cycling was the obvious option, but there is the small matter of the very large hill between Halifax and Bradford."
What pushed you to start using cycling to get to work?
“I really didn’t want to drive to work - it’s expensive, polluting and stressful. Thankfully, I found the solution - bike-train-bike. I whizz down the hill to the train station in the morning, take my bike on the train with me, and pedal up the short hill to my office at the other end. At the end of the day I do the reverse - which does mean a long slog up a long hill at the end of the day.
“My bike-train-bike journey is faster and cheaper than driving into Bradford, if I time it right, I can do door-to-door in half an hour. By letting the train take the strain on the big hill, it means I can wear normal clothes and not arrive at work hot and sweaty.
“I love that I am not bound by bus times that don’t match train times or the level of traffic determining what time I arrive at work. I love getting a bit of exercise at the end of the day and letting that deal with any stresses before coming home to my family."
Are there any challenges to cycling to work? How do you overcome these?
“The challenges are - it’s getting more popular, and sometimes the train spaces on the train are full and I have to stand in a corridor holding my bike, and that sometimes at the end of a long day, I don’t really want to cycle up the hill!"
What advice do you have for someone wanting to try out cycling to work?
“My advice for anyone considering bike to work is - go for it! Even once a week is a little step towards better health and doing your bit for the environment. A decent waterproof is a good idea, and if you are worried about helmet hair, but I buff on under your helmet and take it off when you get to work. Don’t feel you have to cycle all the way - park and ride if that works, or like me, bike-train-bike!"
CityConnect has resources and support to help you start cycling to work. Check out our Get cycling page for information and advice, links to adult cycle training providers, and more stories like Aggie’s.