Andrew works in the Business School and was a newcomer to Birmingham when he loaned a bike from the Universities Sustainable Travel Co-ordinator in March 2017.
How did you utilise the staff loan bike?
Never before would I have considered cycling as a viable and enjoyable means of commuting to and from work. I have also used it in every other element of my daily life – shopping, getting to the gym, and attending cultural activities such as the theatre, concerts, movies, gallery exhibitions and tours. It was also incredibly useful in getting from A to B faster than any alternative transport option would allow – no hassles with traffic, and lots of cycle routes to take advantage of. It was thus relied upon whenever I was in a rush, such as dashing from work to make the doctors appointment in time. I used it in the evening to cycle with friends for leisure and for exercise, and also to visit friends, go out for dinner or meet up for coffee. I used it almost every Saturday to cycle along the Canal into the Mailbox so that I could mill around and explore town, and I used it every Sunday to get to church and home again.
Has loaning the bike made you more physically active?
The bike has certainly made me more physically active, and I have noticed a huge change in my physical strength and health, especially as someone who was previously very inactive. It also made me stop relying on public transport – so I got healthy, saved money, and got to know the geography of the area much better. I couldn’t have asked for more.
After returning the bike will you continue to cycle?
It has inspired an awareness of sustainable and alternative transport methods, and as a result I shall now start investigating the bicycle salary sacrifice scheme that the university offers. I know for sure that I would not enjoy and could not survive life in Birmingham without a bicycle, and the healthy and outdoors lifestyle it affords. It has been an incredible privilege and benefit to my experience as a staff member of the University and new comer to the city, and I am forever grateful. It has also been such a wonderful story to tell when I would be asked how I came to have such a good quality bicycle so soon after arriving in Birmingham – and the responses were always a mixture of being impressed and slightly envious that such opportunities were not available to them. This is an incredible scheme and should definitely receive continuous support and development from the University.