“Cycling up Winchester’s hills helps me keep fit”. Professor Bob Whitmarsh

Cycling is the most cost effective and energy efficient transport there is. WinACC research has shown that the quickest way to get to the city centre from anywhere within Winchester is by bicycle. It’s the only way to be sure how long your journey will take. Traffic jams don’t bother the cyclist. And you won’t have any parking problems with a bike.

Cycling is a good way to cut your travel footprint. The only greenhouse gas emissions are from the extra food you eat to give you energy. Even the emissions caused by making the bike are much lower than those caused by making any other form of transport.

The more people cycle, the more the pressure on the Council to invest in facilities for cycling, for example better cycle routes.

It’s nice to be out in the weather in the summer. And if you cycle most of the time, then there is nothing wrong with taking a taxi or car sharing when the weather’s dreadful.

The risk of cycling is tiny, and it is far outweighed by the benefits. Over 50,000 people die in the UK each year due to coronary heart disease related to insufficient physical activity, compared with around 100 cyclists killed on the road – so being sedentary is a greater risk   than cycling:2. People who are physically active reduce their risk of developing stroke and type 2 diabetes by up to 50%, and the risk of premature death by about 20–30%3.

Cycling keeps you fit: People who cycle regularly in mid-adulthood typically enjoy a level of fitness equivalent to someone 10 years younger, and their life expectancy is two years above the average1.

What I do now






Actions to cut CO2

Getting started

  • Learn to ride a bike.
  • Try out cycling for a week - borrow a bike from a friend.
  • Try the Bikeabout scheme which lends bikes for an annual registration fee of £20 (£35 for couples). And you receive a free cycle helmet, high visibility jacket and Winchester cycle map. They plan to change the scheme so you can hire by the day, too. Ideal for visitors or for trying it out.
  • Buy a bike. Useful advice for beginners at https://www.cyclinguk.org/family. Or get a free bike from Freecycle.co.uk. Or a cheap reliable second-hand one from http://www.bicyclerecycling.co.uk/aboutme.htm
  • Take your old bike to the bike shop and get it serviced. Find your local bike shop.
  • An electric bike could help you get up Winchester’s hills and a folding bike can help you to mix your travel options.

Feeling nervous?

  • Look at the CTC “skills of the road”
  • Find a friend who cycles and go out with them a few times to get more confident.
  • Organise some cycle training by emailing sarah.walker@hants.gov.uk. Sarah also runs led cycle rides for people looking to build their confidence.

Finding the way

  • Put the link to the cycle routes into `My Favourites’ on your computer and smart phone.
  • Transport Direct helps you plan local and national journeys, and allows you to   compare journey times and carbon dioxide emissions by public transport and car. You can download a journey planning app for your mobile phone from: http://www.bikehub.co.uk/
  • Work out a route to work / school / shops / friends that takes you off busy roads. See the map of cycle routes in Winchester – and details on some routes promoted by Hampshire County Council are at: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/cycling
  • More comprehensive information on cycle routes (starting with Hampshire)
  • Transport Direct comprehensive cycle route planning information for England.

Carrying stuff

  • Try doing your shopping on the bike – it’s much less strenuous than carrying the shopping bags on foot.
  • Get a rack on the back of your bike and a pair of panniers – you’ll be amazed how much you can carry. (Panniers on the back are better than a basket on the front wheel, because they are more stable).
  •  Buy a cycle ‘trolley” to pull behind you for the weekly family shop. These can take loads of up to 40Kg and are good for bulky items. You can get toddler trailers for taking your toddlers out and about, which also double for a cargo trailer when the toddler has progressed to their own bike. 

Going to work by bike

  • It’s a smart way to get to and from the station, making the mid-part of your journey by train. A folding bike can be carried on any train as luggage, so no worries about taking it on the train with you. Or get a cheap bike and park it at the station instead of putting it on the train. You can even have two, one each end of your train journey, for less than the cost of one MOT.
  •  Get your employer to sign up to https://www.cyclescheme.co.uk/ and you and your work colleagues could get tax free bikes, typically saving you 40% to 50% of the cost of a new (or reconditioned) bike – even an electric bike.

Getting the family onto their bikes

  • Look at the Change4Life website Bike4Life section, full of tips and information to help families get out and about on their bikes and to help them feel confident on the road.
  • Make it a treat for your children to go on a bike trip – take a picnic, go exploring.
  • Can your children cycle to school? Could you go with them, riding single file with them in front where you can see them? Sustrans “Safe Routes to Schools” programme encourages children to travel to school in an active and environmentally-friendly way.
  • You can still get about by bike with children. Smaller children can use a cycle seat on your bike, or be carried in a buggy. Tag-alongs hitch onto your bike to train young children to ride on the road before they are ready to ride their own bike and trailer bikes enable you to tow your young child on their bicycle to the park where they can learn to ride off the road.

My ideas:







Time and materials

  • A new bike plus carrier, lights,  high-visibility vest and helmet can cost as little as £200, and £100 should cover annual servicing including minor repairs.
    • A padlock that will go round a lamp post or both wheels is more secure.
    • Good lights and high visibility jacket or tabard are essential.
    • Light weight breathable waterproofs are useful but you don’t need other special clothes. Black Lycra is entirely optional!
  • A couple of hours to get your bike overhauled and check your routes.

Suggested goals

For a start, replace at least one car journey a week with the bicycle. 

Increase this with the aim of walking or cycling all journeys that are less than 3 miles

Build your leisure trips around cycling.

CO2 credit

On average 85% of all car journeys are less than 5 miles. If you aim to replace the car with the bicycle for all journeys less than 3 miles, using your household travel diary work out how many miles you could take off your car mileage in a year. Using your carbon calculator work out how much of a CO2 reduction this would be. 

What I will do













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References and more information

1 Cycling and Health Briefing, CTC

2 Cycling and Health- what is the evidence, Cycling England

3. Dept of Health. Be Active, Be Healthy: a plan to get the nation moving. Feb 2009