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Starting the cycle to work (Cycle Trails Part I)

New bike owner, Neil

Neil Wilson, a member of the Estates Projects team, has been cycling to work over the last decade, and has shared what got him started...

As winter dies away and the mornings become warmer, you can see them, all over the country, squeezing into lycra and pulling on their cycle hats and I am sad to say that I fall into this category; “the cyclist”.

I first bought my bike about 10 years ago, which can be seen in my proud as punch photo! At the time I was driving to work and a colleague suggested that I should cycle. Living about 6.5 miles away I thought this seemed like a good way to get fit and hence, I approached the cycle to work scheme and kitted myself out with all the gear (well you have to look the part if nothing else). I changed the tyres on my newly acquired bike to puncture-resistant tyres after I had a puncture in the first week (lesson learnt). To be honest, Marriots Way cyclepath changing the tyres was the best thing I could have done as I have only had a few punctures in the 10 years I have been cycling.

I soon discovered a variety of routes, one being the Marriott Way; an old railway line which runs between Norwich and Aylsham and passes less than a mile from my house. As you can see from the photos, the Marriott Way is a beautiful track and ideal for cycling, although I only use it in the summer, when it is dry.

Marriots Way cyclepath

I have, over the years become more keen and now, on occasions take longer routes home which vary from 7-20miles depending on how tired I feel and how nice the weather is.

I now also use Strava (see screen shot), an app for your phone, which logs your ride and allows you to share it with others (it also logs walks and runs) which allows people to ‘like’ your efforts boosting your efforts and enthusiasm.

Over the last couple of years my cycling efforts reduced and as may wife drives to UEA every day, jumping in the car was far too easy. During this period, I put 1½ stone on in weight and felt really unfit. As the new year came and went with champagne corks popping and firework bursting, I decided to turn over a new leaf and get fit again. Through cycling, swimming and watching calories, I have managed to lose the 1½ stone and feel much better about myself.

Neil's Strava screen - taking longer routes can be fun!

10 years on I am probably as fit as I have ever been, although I sometimes know that me knees are 10 years older. I still love cycling in the sunshine and as can be seen by my Strava report, I still like cycling longer routes home.

Feeling inspired?