I ride my bike to the bus stop
By Andy Chivers
One of Cyclox’s members wrote to suggest that bus stops would benefit from a couple of bike stands nearby. There are a few examples of this dotted around Oxford, and it is an enlightened decision by someone in the city or county council to make it easier for people to cycle to the bus stop, hop on the bus and leave their bike securely locked until their return. We see this natural symbiosis at the railway station, and Gloucester Green has a modest supply of bike racks, so logically all bus stops would benefit as well.
Our member, who is in his late 80s, explained that due to severe hip arthritis, walking any real distance was out of the question – ‘agony’ was the word he used. However, he can ride his bike comfortably to the bus stop and climb on a bus. This situation is not unusual in arthritis where cycling takes the body weight off the arthritic joint while allowing them to exert a comfortable amount of pressure on the pedals to make progress. As a bonus the bike takes the weight of shopping as well, so those joints are spared another strain.
E-bikes take this one step further, but our correspondent has reservations – he worries about the extra weight and the unaccustomed acceleration. He is right to be cautious – a study in the Netherlands showed accidents were more common with older riders new to e-bikes.
The contrast between his walking and his bike riding is stark – he will often do 40 miles a week on his bike but can’t walk 200 yards without pain. Keeping fit before surgery (he is on the waiting list for a hip replacement) will improve his recovery post-op so the cycling is important. His bike provides him with the exercise he needs as well as giving him freedom and fun. Frustratingly there is nothing secure to lock his bike to at his nearby bus stop. An enlightened view of transport facilities would provide a few bike stands at bus stops as one way to expand the range of potential cyclists.
Oxford is committed to increasing rates of cycling in the city by 50% in the next 10 years and this means getting people onto bikes and out of cars. Any bike trip is only as appealing as its weakest link, and this includes locking your bike up at your destination as well as being able to ride along well-maintained bike paths.
Oxfordshire County Council is preparing Oxford’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and we would like see a proposal in it for bikes stands at bus stops. The publication of this plan will be the moment when we learn how seriously the 50% increase in cycling is being taken. We hope that the county council is able to adopt the plan, that there will be money to spend on it, and that implementation is swift. Meanwhile if you think a bus stop could benefit from a bike rack, tell your local councillor – they have access to small amounts of money for this sort of thing.