Reasons NOT to cycle – a few myths debunked
- It’s to dangerous on the roads for cycling
The perceived dangers of cycling are a lot greater than the actual dangers. Key factors to cycling safely are being seen and being confident on the road. See the safer cycling page for more information about cycling safely. Most of the routes to the Harwell campus detailed in the routes pages are using a combination of off road cycle paths and country lanes. Whilst off road routes are, obviously, safe from traffic care needs to be taken on country lanes as, although the amount of traffic is less than on main roads, traffic speed is faster.
- It’s quicker to drive
There has been a lot of studies showing how cycling is a lot quicker in towns and cities. The Harwell campus is in a rural area so it is unlikely that cycling will be quicker than the car or bus most of the time. What may be suprising is that the car/bus journey is not a great deal faster than cycling at peak times and it only needs a traffic problem to throw the timing of the journey into the cyclitst’s favour.
- It’s always raining
The truth is it is not as wet as people think, hence the need for hosepipe bans. What looks bad in a car at 50mph on the windscreen is usually not noticable on a bike. A cyclist that cycles to work every working day of the year will probably have to cope with two to three days where the rain is a ‘soaker’ on one of the journeys to or from work.
- It’s a lot warmer in the car
Cycling produces body heat and this heats a cyclist up quicker than a motorist in a car, providing the correct clothing is worn. The amount of clothing needed obviously varies depending on the weather but generally even on the coldest days two to three layers is all that is needed to keep warm.
- Cyclists always get punctures
Punctures are a pain for all cyclists but there are various options that can drastically reduce your chances of getting a puncture. Puncture proof tyres like the Schwalbe Marathon Plus have an inbuilt puncture resistant belt, but they are heavier than normal tyres. Mountain bikes have very tough tyres that do not puncture easily. Adding a Kevlar belt on the inside of a standard road tyre helps as do puncture resistant inner tubes. Also useful for quick repairs are puncture sealants that are squirted into inner tubes and seal the puncture hole as the wheel goes round. Repairing a puncture has also been made a lot easier with self adhesive patches (no mores tubes of glue and chalk) and mini CO2 cartridge pumps to instantly inflate tyres. Cycle pumps are also smaller and more efficient and are often fitted with a built in pressure gauge.
- Cyclists turn up for work sweaty.
This of course depends on the effort exerted on the journey and how much clothing you wear, so by adjusting these it possible to minimise the amount of sweat. Also many companies at the Harwell campus provide changing and shower facilities.
- Cyclists breath in pollution
This can be a problem in town and city centres. This is not really a problem when cycling to the Harwell campus because of it’s rural location. Most cycle routes are via off road routes and country lanes. A cyclist will only get a good dose of fresh clean air. Motorists will generally breath in twice the amount of Carbon Monoxide than cyclists and the Government have now accepted that pollution levels in cars are higher than outside.
- Cyclists end up with colds & flu
Not true, outdoor exercise actually boosts the immune system.
- Cycling will make hayfever worse
This may be true but there are ways to help with the symptoms whilst cycling: wear cycling glasses; put Vaseline around the edges of your nostrils to trap pollen and shower at work and again at home to wash any pollen off. Wearing a face mask may help also.
- Cycles cannot carry all the equipment needed for work
A cycle can carry a lot of equipment in panniers front and / or rear. Panniers are also available that are designed to carry laptops. There is also the option of carrying stuff in a backpack or a front basket.