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Residents share the benefits of cycling in Lewisham

During COVID-19 we have seen a greater up-take of cycling in Lewisham as the lockdown brought a reduction in car use.

Cycling is a form of transport that transcends age, has a low carbon footprint and encourages residents to get outside and explore their local area.

We recently spoke to several residents about the benefits of cycling and we would like to share some of their insights with you.

Jack has recently taken up cycling via the Lewisham Cycle Confident scheme and Rosemin has been cycling since she was a child in Uganda.

When did you start cycling?

Jack says: I started cycling in January when I took a Cycle Confident lesson funded by the council. I never really got the hang of cycling as a kid.

Rosemin says: I grew up in Uganda, about 11 cousins would share a bike with as many of us getting on it as we could! When I was in primary school my dad took me to school on his rack at the back sitting on a cushion!!

In UK we grew up in Worcester as refugees. Age 11 I got into a grammar school on the outskirts of the city but got no bus pass so my older sister gave me her bike to cycle to school.

Why do you cycle now?

Jack says: My aim is to get fitter and hopefully one day I’ll be able to cycle to work.

Rosemin says: I cycle for necessity, because I believe in sustainability - I have no car. I go everywhere, shop and commute on my bike.

Cycling is also my counselling. I do all my thinking when riding. It helps me stay fit and it gives me freedom especially during COVID. I don’t need to use public transport and can help make space for those who need it.

Do you have any hesitations about cycling in London?

Jack says: I haven’t cycled on the roads yet, I think I’ll need another session with Cycle Confident before going on to that.

If you could name one thing that the council could do to make things better for cyclists, what would it be?

Jack says: Proper segregated cycle lanes. I love cycling on the Waterlink way because I don't need to worry about cars. It would be great if I could do that across the borough and beyond.

Rosemin says: Lend more bikes. Then people who want to have a go at cycling can try it without having to buy a new bike. I also wish that there were more traffic free paths for children to use to cycle on.

What advice would you give to anyone who might be thinking of starting cycling?

Jack says: Even if you think you can't cycle, give lessons a go. It's really fun!

Rosemin says: If you’re worried about starting cycling, you should definitely have a lesson as it helps gain confidence. Always wear a helmet.

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