15th January 2019

Making more of your bike

39% of adults in the UK do not meet physical activity recommendations*

That’s a shocking statistic. 39% (or up to 46% in some areas) of people don’t do 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week and strength activities on at least two days a week. It’s this sedentary behaviour that The World Health Organization ranks among the 10 leading causes of death worldwide.

This is where we want to help

We’ve put it out to our followers and co-op members: how to make more use of your bike. We’re not talking about selling your car and cycling from Lands End of John o’Groats. We’re not even saying that you have to kit yourself out in lycra if you don’t want to. We’re meaning little things that you can do, to incorporate cycling into your every day life. Making it part of your normal day so it becomes a normal thing to do.

First thing’s first. If your bike hasn’t been out the shed lately, take it to get a quick check-up by a mechanic. Local bike shops will do this for you – and if you come to us, your check-up is free! Once you know your bike is all set, let’s see what our members and followers recommend:


getting active | how to make more of your bike | cycle moreFrancesca: Co-op Digital Marketing Manager and Mum 

Undoubtedly the thing that turned me from driver to cyclist was that I researched my route. Unless you’re a long-term cyclist, you probably don’t realise how accessible your city is via the various cycle paths. I certainly didn’t! Most people I speak to are put off trying to cycle to work because they’re afraid to use the roads. However, I discovered you can get across Edinburgh via cycle routes and paths, without really using the roads. So do you research into those routes before you discount cycling as a safe means of travel. Check council websites, and cycle network sites for the best routes. You’ll be surprised at the hidden city you’ll discover.

Another piece of great advice I was given was to invest in a good waterproof pannier, rather than wearing a backpack. That way, the bike takes the weight rather than you, so you can concentrate on the cycling!

Editor: When researching your route, Sustrans National Cycle Network is a great place to start and CycleStreets is also a great resource.

Euan: Manager at our Edinburgh Canonmills store

getting active | how to make more of your bike | cycle moreI regularly use my bike for getting work done on my car – bike in boot; drive to garage; cycle home/to work; cycle back to collect car when it is ready.

I also really like using my bike to do my (usually last minute) xmas shopping. The roads to the shopping centres end up deadlocked with cars to the extent it can take 40 minutes to drive there and fight for a parking space before you can even start shopping. I just sail past all the queued cars, lock my bike to a lamp post, and I’m good to go.

Phil Wilson: Co-op friend

getting active | how to make more of your bike | cycle morePhil did actually get rid of his car! He invested in a tag-along for his older child and child seat for the wee one. Add a couple of panniers and any reasonable journey can be done by bike.

Graham: Manager at our Leeds store

Think shopping with your bike is faffy? Attach your panniers to your trolly and it’ll make packing even easier than if you were taking the car.

Karen Dillon and Ben Thomas: friends of the co-op

getting active | how to make more of your bike | cycle moreThese people separately suggested the holidays are a great way of adding exercise to your day… by cycling to or from the destination. Karen cycled from Manchester to County Clare, Ireland and Ben cycled home from Sweden! 

Editor: that’s quite an undertaking! But you don’t have to do such a long journey to start or end your holiday. What about just hiring a bike instead of a car for a couple of days on holiday?

Andrew: Dad of two and consultant for the bike co-op

I’d say it’s all about routine.

If you’re cycling to work, leave your work stuff in the panniers so that it’s more of a hassle to decant than just get on the bike. Make sure you set your schedule accordingly, i.e. don’t end up being late as it will tempt you to take the bus/car instead. If the bike is quicker, make sure you set your schedule such that you miss the bus! Arrange to meet people where it’s hard to get to by other means. Promise others you’ll be on your bike. Build in a stop in the journey that you can’t do easily by other transport means. 

Basically, build a routine that makes it harder to leave the bike than to take it, it probably won’t be one thing it will be a collection of small “embuggerations” that occur if you leave the bike.

When I first started swimming every day, I got into the habit of shaving at the gym, I used to leave my razor in the locker, which meant that not going swimming meant not shaving (which was a no-no for me at the time).

Comment below with your tips and help others get more active!

*Statistics come from the British Heart Foundation Physical Inactivity Report 2017 which can be found here.

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