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By Jane Girnary
Since I passed my Bikeability course with Southend Borough Council a couple of months ago, I have scarcely been on a bike. Now that we are on lockdown for the foreseeable and the weather is good, there is no excuse for me not to get out on my bike and do some exercise. So, I decided to take up the challenge and go out on my bike and learn my route to work.
I live in a mid-terraced house and space is limited, so I have an electric fold-up bike that can squeeze into my hallway.
If like me, you are not a confident cyclist, an electric bike is a great option. You don’t have to use the battery, you can switch it off and just ride it as a conventional bicycle. I did this for a while until I got my balance and the knack of using the gears, which should only be adjusted while you’re in motion. I love the extra power from the battery though; particularly as there are a couple of small hills to negotiate on my route and also, when I just want to take it easy. The more I ride my bike, the more confident I am becoming, and the skills my bikeability training taught me are falling into place. I found it tiring at first, partly because I was concentrating on not getting lost, but also because I was learning how to manage something on two wheels as opposed to four.
The first couple of trips out were a bit nerve wracking, but perseverance has paid off and I have learnt to adjust my gears and use the battery without falling off or crashing into a lamppost. I have discovered how sociable cycling can be. During these difficult times, I see more and more people out and about on their bikes. People smile and some have even asked me for directions from a safe distance when they are lost.
I enjoy cycling and like to think I will keep up the momentum when things get back to normal. I feel much better after my rides now, less tired and more uplifted. I think I may even have lost a few pounds.
So if you’re in any doubt, don’t be, cycling is a great way to get exercise. Give ForwardMotion a call on 01702 212727 or visit our website https://forwardmotionsouthessex.co.uk/ to find out how the project can support you cycling.
ForwardMotion Travel Engagement Officer
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