Every week’s a bike week: Six reasons to switch to two wheels this Bike Week and beyond

Bike Week (9-17 June) is an annual UK-wide event aimed at inspiring more people to discover the benefits of cycling.

As part of the celebrations, the team behind West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s £60m CityConnect programme aimed at making it easier for people to cycle and walk share their top reasons to switch to switch to two wheels during Bike Week and beyond.

1. It saves you money

From the cost of running a car and paying for parking to buying a bus or train ticket – however you currently travel one thing is certain: going by bike is cheaper even when you take into account the initial outlay in sourcing a roadworthy bike. What’s more you won’t need to fork out for expensive gym classes. Research by Sustrans Scotland found that if people made journeys of under five miles by bike instead of car, the average person could save nearly £2,000 a year – that’s the equivalent of a 9% pay rise.

2. Cycling can be quicker than travelling by car

Drivers in UK cities spend on average more than a day (31 hours) each year stuck in rush hour traffic, according to data published by Inrix earlier this year. The Department for Transport’s latest Journey Time Statistics show people travelling by car are only 1.7mph quicker than those travelling by bike on urban streets. Cycling can often be the quickest option, especially for shorter journeys, and it means you can avoid all the frustration of being stuck in traffic.

3. Switching to cycling for short, local journeys is an easy way to make sure you get enough exercise

According to government guidelines, we need at least 150 minutes exercise a week but many of us struggle to build this level of physical activity into our busy lives – 39% of us don’t, according to the British Heart Foundation. Cycling short, local journeys is often an easy solution. What’s more an average commute to work can burn about 400 calories (that’s enough to justify a slice of cake). Research has also shown people who travel by bike regularly can have fitness levels of someone up to 10 years younger.

4. It could help you live longer

You’ll have heard health pundits talk about cycling as a “miracle pill” - and for good reason. There is a well-established body of research highlighting the physical benefits of cycling. Last year, a major study by the University of Glasgow published in the British Medical Journal found people who commuted by bike nearly halved their risk of developing cancer and heart disease.

5. Cycling’s good for your mental health too

Ask anyone who rides a bike and they’ll tell you it makes them feel good, not just in body but in mind too. Physical activity has been shown to increase positive mood and self-esteem, as well as reducing anxiety and stress, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Whether it’s clearing your mind after a busy day at work or heading out just for the sake of it; making time for yourself or catching up with loved ones; the chances are if you head out on your bike you’ll return home feeling better.

6. Still not convinced?

Cycling is the perfect opportunity to inject more play time into your life.Think back to how much fun you used to have on your bike as a child - the wind in your hair, all the freedom and the adventure, those long summer days out exploring. From exploring new places to noticing the change in the seasons and wildlife spotting, two wheels are better than four when it comes to connecting with the world around you. Who knows, you might like it so much you’ll get your family and friends involved too.

Meet Andy King: Back on the bike after a 30 year hiatus.

[caption id="attachment_3301" align="alignnone" width="300"] Andy King, a cycling to work convert.[/caption]

Five ways CityConnect can help keep you pedalling beyond Bike Week

The Bradford – Leeds Cycle Superhighway

A 14km cycle route segregated from traffic.

FREE adult cycle training

From learning to ride to tackling busy junctions and cycling in traffic.

Bike Friendly Business

Grants of up to £5,000, free expert advice and tailored support.

Bike Friendly Schools

Cycle training, bike storage and training for staff.

Cycle Challenges

Take part in year-round challenges and log your rides to win prizes.