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Get on your bike!

July 27th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life · No Comments · Life

I see that the government want to encourage more people to take up cycling to improve health by reducing obesity. While it is easy to pick holes in this, the gist of it is very laudable. There shouldn’t be any doubt that reducing weight leads to improvements in health and that cycling can help to reduce weight and health generally.

I have questions though. When the news says that GPs will be prescribing cycling, what exactly does that mean? Does it mean that you can get a bicycle from the chemist for £9.15? (Or for nothing if you get free prescriptions like I do). If not then isn’t it just that doctors can recommend cycling, which they have always been able to do and often have?

For many people it is not the cost of cycling that is putting them off, but the perceived danger of it. Personally I spent many years cycling across South London during rush hours. After daily commutes through the Wandsworth one-way system and Brixton, I am probably happier being on the road than on a cycle path but I realise that is not normal.

It will be interesting to see if the necessary improvements are made to the roads to support more cycling, because that would involve inconveniencing car drivers, maybe even taking lanes away from cars.

Of course cycling on its own isn’t going to suddenly make everybody skinny, you need to cut down on the food too. And cycling isn’t the only exercise, but its one you can do without having to find extra time for it. Back in the day it used to take me about 50 minutes to cycle to work, which is about the same time as it took to make the journey by train or by car. It wasn’t necessary to make time for exercise.

As so much of the short-term needs of our economy depend on us buying more cars and driving them, and buying unhealthy foods, its going to be a hard sell, but it will be interesting to see if this is an actual change in direction for the country or just another soundbite.

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