As the Indian Summer finally gives way to a British Autumn, and warm sunshine is replaced by squally showers, I thought I would mention Cycle to Work Day, which took place recently. This is a national event, championed by multi gold medal winning Paralympic cyclist, Dame Sarah Storey, which aims to encourage everyone to take to two wheels and cycle to work for just one day. With a website https://www.cycletoworkday.org/ a social media presence and press coverage, this year’s day was a glorious Thursday in early September…perfect conditions in fact.
My round-trip commute between Great Baddow and Thorpe Bay is around 47 miles which makes a daily cycle unrealistic due to time constraints. However, up until very recently, it has been possible to continue cycling to work once or twice a week in dry and warm conditions. Even the usually aptly-named Watery Lane, connecting Battlesbridge and Hullbridge, remained bone dry for weeks on end. This two-mile cut-through, where the national speed limit applies, is often something of a race track during rush hour, but the construction of a new bridge meant that this section was closed to vehicles. This left just the minor inconvenience of having to walk across the temporary pedestrian bridge, treading carefully to avoid glass and loose gravel.
I am a bit sceptical about ‘National’ days, weeks or months. After all, October boasts such milestones in the almanac as ‘badger day’, a ‘global handwashing day’ or how about ‘wool week’? They always give the press easy copy to fill column inches and airtime on a slow news day. When it comes to cycling to work, the real story is the benefits of a year-round lifestyle change, which is surely a no-brainer. It is for me, at least, with work and recent personal circumstances making it difficult to get out on Sundays. Even if this type of ‘National Day’ encourages just a few more commuters to leave the car at home now and then, it has to be worthwhile.
Plans are already being made for ‘National Cycle to Work Day 2015’. In the meantime, once I have attended the autumn AGMs, I shall while away the coldest months with delights such as ‘Bubblewrap Appreciation Day’ and ‘National Doodle Day’. Those long, dark winter evenings look set to fly by!