Getting around on the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway: Meet Fuzzy Jones
Concerns over climate change and its impact, not just on the physical world we live in but what it all means for how we go about our daily lives both now and in the future, have moved up the agenda in recent times. The question on many people’s lips? “What difference can I make?”
With two thirds of journeys made by West Yorkshire residents under five miles and Public Health England estimating 1 in 20 deaths in our region are attributable to air pollution, the case for making more of our journeys by bike and on foot has never been stronger.
We caught up with Fuzzy Jones, an award-winning musician, activist and artist living in Bramley, to hear how her passion for the environment, combined with having the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway on her doorstep, has helped her ditch four wheels for two come rain or shine.
I have always been passionate about the environment but it was when I was working in Holland a couple of years ago I became really aware of how much better a city functions when people are on bikes.
Back at home I’d inherited a diesel car but I was really unhappy about driving it around everywhere and with traffic getting worse and worse in Leeds I just had this growing sense I needed to embrace getting around by bike instead.
Shaking up the commute
Up until recently I was working in Seacroft and driving past the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway all the way to and from work, feeling increasingly frustrated with driving, and I thought I’d give it a go.
In the car it was taking me up to an hour each way in rush hour and cycling would take me 45 minutes.
I was much happier spending my time on the bike rather than sitting in traffic and it was easier knowing exactly how long my commute would take me, regardless of the time of day or traffic.
I also had more flexibility because I could travel when I wanted instead of having to time everything around rush hour.
Having a segregated cycle route on my doorstep is great – I feel safe on the cycle superhighway and it’s really user friendly.
We’re a step closer to the way people are travelling in Holland but we need to do more make our streets less car dominated and more cycling friendly.
I quickly found out cycling the eight or nine miles from Bramley to Seacroft and back was a mission on my three-speed vintage Raleigh road bike so I started to think about an e-bike.
I was a bit apprehensive but I’m a complete convert, it’s so much fun and now I’m like, “Yeah, hills no problem”, it’s just not as intimidating.
Having an e-bike has opened up cycling opportunities I just wouldn’t have had before, such as visiting friends in Otley or keeping up with mates on longer rides in the Yorkshire Dales.
I love cycling, the way it makes me feel - I feel free and I feel healthy.
Fuzzy’s advice to others?
Don’t worry about the weather. I was scared of bad weather to begin with but now I embrace it.
There’s nothing a pair of waterproof trousers, a waterproof jacket and a spare change of clothes can’t solve.
You can get some really good gear and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Just don’t worry about it and don’t wear mascara, even if it’s waterproof.