Cycling to Heriot-Watt: tips from Abi

Abi Wingate, Cycling Development Officer at Transition Heriot-Watt, tells us about why she cycles to work – and how much she enjoys it.

“If I had never cycled, I would not know what I was missing” says Abi.

Abi does own a car, but chooses not to drive for anything other than long distances, and cycles to work each day from Leith.

“I enjoy how I feel after I’ve cycled – happy, awake, alive and alert for work. I feel fulfilled.”

She enjoys being outside and chooses different routes to explore Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside. “It’s a little mini adventure every morning and afternoon.”

Keeping fit

Cycling keeps Abi fit, meaning she doesn’t have to find time or money to go to the gym, and also reduces her travel costs. She saves £3.50 a day in bus fares and cycling takes no longer than the bus journey. “I can spend the money I save on other things. If I want something new, I just think, if I wait until I’ve cycled in a few more times, I can buy it.”

Abi much prefers the upkeep of a bike to a car. “You just have to keep it clean. You have much less to worry about than if you were maintaining a car.”

Abi also feels perfectly safe cycling around Edinburgh. “There are loads of different routes to take so I can choose not to cycle on busy roads with lots of traffic.”

She does admit that cycling gets easier over time. “The more you do it, the more you can’t find reasons for not doing it. The conversations I have in my head – but it’s raining, it’s too cold – become less the more often I cycle.”

Abi’s top cycling tips

1. Save time – pack your bag the night before

2. Be prepared – plan your route

3. Keep your bike clean

4. Find a buddy to cycle with

5. Inexpensive waterproofs can keep you dry

6. Keep safe – use your bell

7. Stay hydrated

8. Start slowly, once or twice a week is fine to start

9. Leave extra time on your first day

10. Enjoy yourself!