Close
Loading Please Wait ....
Close
Loading Please Wait ....
Close
Loading Please Wait ....

 

This is your chance to comment on what you see are the highs of cycling.
 
 
We'd love to know if travelling actively has improved your lifestyle in any way.
 
With so much in the news on obesity and climate change it's easy to see how relevant our work is to get people travelling in healthier and more environmentally friendly ways. But it's your stories that will encourage more people.
 

 
 
 Here are some ideas on the kind of thing that could work:
• Has active travel improved your journey to work - is it quicker because you're not stuck in traffic?
• Has walking and cycling helped you recover from an illness or helped you get fit or lose weight?
• Are you doing anything special with the money you have saved on travel costs?
• Or maybe you met your partner whilst out for a stroll or bike ride - why not share your romantic tale?
 
To tell us your story, email cyclestories@stocktonsbigchallenge.org.uk
 
Tips for your email:
• Give a brief description of what happened, when, where and to whom
• Tell us how this affected the lives of the people involved - how did you / they feel?
• Please tell us why you think walking and cycling are important - to you and to others. 
  
Your stories so far
 
by Sheree Lyons
Whilst studying to become a podiatrist I cycled regularly using mountain bike trails in my local area of Gateshead.  Some spectacular views making the effort worthwhile.  Once I qualified I started working regularly at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and found myself sitting down all day and when getting home, sitting down some more!!  In October, after 3 years of sitting down, I decided enough was enough.  I reached 17 stone and felt disgusted with myself for getting to that weight.  I invested in a road bike and began cycling again, this time taking in the sights of Teeside and surrounding areas, and was pleasantly surprised to see just how lovely the area was.  Castle Eden walkway, and even the cycle routes down the A19.  I started running with the Stockton Council beginners groups that had been advertised on the hospital intranet (also advertised of social media and local council websites).  My clinics never really allowed for active transport because I had to carry out home visits, however, with a service review and a clinical shift about I ended up with 2 days in which I would be in the same place all day.  I started cycling to work on a Tuesday and a Thursday, 15 miles of pure cycling pleasure.  I even find myself walking to my local shop rather than hopping in the car.
Since January I have dropped 3 stone. I cycle for transport, for exercise and for fun.

by Claire C (Stockton on Tees)
Had a bicycle for several years, but it was simply gathering dust in the garage. The last time it saw daylight was many years ago during a holiday in Whitby, when we had a family cycle ride from Whitby to Robin Hoods Bay. Very enjoyable too. The problem was that I was not confident on my cycle and preferred to use my cross-trainer for exercise, but an accident at work that severely damaged my Achilles tendon restricted this for many months whilst I awaited a minor op. My husband, being a keen cyclist, encouraged me to join him on a short ride to Middlesbrough, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I have also joined him on some of the guided rides led by The Hub and can say it was great fun and the guys are very friendly. The cycling has been very beneficial in the recovery process for my Achilles Tendon.  My husband bought a new cycle for my birthday and we now go out every Sunday for a cycle ride. It's a great chance to blow some cobwebs away, get some exercise, and have a nice conversation away from the stresses of housework and work.  I can't believe how addicted I've become.

 
by Kim D
Hello, my name is Kim and I work in the histology lab. I live in Oxbridge and have cycled to work every day since I started here, two and a half years ago, even through the winter! My funny cycling story is as follows:
One day in the summer I was cycling home as usual, I was wearing a dress this day as it was hot. I join the cycle path which runs parallel to Durham road soon after I leave the hospital, but have to cut through I small gap in a fence to do so. On this day I probably wasn’t paying full attention and hit the side of the fence, fell off me bike legs first into the biggest bush of nettles I’ve ever seen! Having no choice (after swearing a bit) I got on my bike and cycled the rest of my 3 mile journey in agonising pain, crying slightly. My legs were bright red from ankles to knees and were very sore, I felt like I was being repeatedly stung by bees. As soon as I arrived home I rinsed my legs in the shower, covered them in calamine lotion, but nothing seemed to help. By now the pain wasn’t too bad but the pins and needles had begun. All night the whole of both of my legs were tingling like crazy, and when I went to work the next day I still didn’t have full feeling in one knee, it still tingled! I was feeling so sorry for myself I almost rang my mam for sympathy but didn’t thinking “my colleagues will make me feel better”. On telling the story the next day it was met with gales of laughter and much mickey-taking which continues to this day. I can see the funny side now fortunately :o)

 
by Fiona J
Stockton Sportive Cyclist
The sportive was a big challenge for me as I have significant health problems with joints, co-ordination and I am registered disabled. I don’t know why I did it at first and as I set off and the lycra men were streaking off in front and there I was at the back on my little fat bike pedaling away like crazy wondering what I had let myself in for.  I continued through Ingleby wondering if I could go on as the wind was almost pushing me back but I got myself settled and had to shrug as more people went past that set off later as I was in the 2nd group out.  It seemed to get easier as I got in the country lanes with the high hedges either side it was more sheltered and I got some distance behind me through Seamer and Hiilton. Then came the rain as I went through Great Ayton I could barely see. My waterproof was off and on a few times. Then slowly I went up the first hill and got to the top. Others kept passing me still but shouted hello and me and my little tank kept going and going. I felt very tired and shaky for a while but had some fast energy with one of the sachets I had and a bottle of lucozade.
 
Then I got to the hill at Kildale at this point I had to walk as I couldn’t get the momentum to cycle up and a few others were walking this bit too but I felt the adrenaline pumping as I knew I was well past the point of no return. It was a good feeling for me as I knew that after this I would be ok and I would finish despite the few miles I still had to go. Eventually I was able to get back on and cycled along the top and into Kildale ready for my snacks. I set off back, I think one of the lycra men thought he was being funny and asked “if I had bricks in my panniers !”  never mind the main thing was that I was back on the way home, and everything was ok as far as Great Ayton then I took a wrong turn and went back to Stockton the long , but it wasn’t just me thankfully but thanks to Dan we got back on the circuit again and at 1.30 ish ,5 and a half hours after starting I got back to Stockton. I had done it I cant explain how I felt.
 
Thanks to Paul and Neil at The Hub and my colleague John who have continually encouraged me regarding this event and made me believe in myself. Yes the weather was dire but I achieved a huge milestone for myself and pushed through my limitations to get to the end of it.  Yes I might not be a fast cyclist but I am very determined and it paid off and I had a great day all in all.  Roll on next year, bring it on (and a prayer for better weather).  Thanks for a great event. 
 
All I would say is that a hot drink would have been welcome at the top as I was so cold but the cakes were nice.

 
by Stephanie S (Stockton Borough Council)
I’ve been attending the local hospital for quite sometime now and have been getting increasingly frustrated by the lack of parking and charges when lucky enough to find a space.
For my latest appointment I decided to cycle to work and then cycle from there to the hospital….. It was a dream, the car park was full due to my appointment being during visiting times, but I was able to chain my bike up and get to my appointment early without having to pay the extortionate parking charges. Fantastic!

 
by Fiona J (Stockton on Tees)
Last year when I did this challenge I had recently recovered from major health problems with my back however over the last year I have ridden most days and finding it so much easier to do more miles. My longest ride was over to Middlesbrough where I clocked up about 15 miles something I wouldn’t have even dreamed of a year ago.   To add to this I am taking part in the Stockton Cycle Challenge on 16th July and the 3 Parks Ride on 14th August that I am doing with colleagues at work to raise money for Teesside Hospice.
 
I am very encouraged by how I have done and my stamina levels are rising and I am planning on doing more rides with the Stockton Hub and increasing my overall fitness . I am not able to use the gym due to muscle weaknesses but I have been able to do something I enjoy and help my basic level of fitness as well. 

 
by Martin S (Stockton on Tees) 
I'm not new to cycling, but I can recommend it to anyone looking at ways to keep healthy and save some money on petrol or bus fares. I cycle too and from work 5 days a week; a journey of around 8 miles. The trip takes me about 20 minutes to half a hour.
Traffic wise is not too bad, being a twilight worker, I have to contend with peak hour traffic, but luckily enough to have cycle-paths on the latter part of the ride.
I've been cycling to work now for 12 years and must of saved a fortune in bus-fares (I can't drive a car, but if I could, I would still cycle to work!). I have noticed over the last ten years, that there has been a increased number of cyclists and the bike facilities at work, have improved, so it's looking bright.
The only fault with cycling, although, I believe it's all part of the fun cycling, is the weather. I've cycled in heavy showers, rain, snow and severe gales, people think I'm mad, but I battle on.
I once cracked a rib and still cycled to work and although it was very painful, I thought, well better than sulking and feeling sorry for myself sitting in the house.
The winter is the worst time for cycling, with black ice and snow to worry about. The last winter was pretty bad, with some deep snow, however, I still got to work despite the bad conditions.
Nowadays, I wear a helmet, after my Mum nagged about me cycling on roads and the dangers it involves.

I often see many wildlife and birds on the cycle path, when I'm cycling to work. Some of the one's I've seen to date are Goldfinches, Bullfinches, Great Tits, Greenfinches, Magpies and of cause our humble Crow. I sometimes feed them with scraps of food in the winter months and they know now who I am.
The best time, was when I was cycling on the cyclepath and I saw a pair of Whooper Swans walking along the cyclepath. Their were very tame and didnt seem to mind cyclist's going by.
Apart from cycling to work and back, I like to cycle to the town centre for my leisure time and going to the shops. Again, I save money and it stops me getting nasty flu virus's from other passengers on the bus. So, cycling is tops for keeping healthy.

 
by Jane S
Cycling actually can be so much easier than taking the car, it's just getting out of the habit of driving everywhere...no parking problems, and it makes you feel alert. I just make sure my bike is handy to get at and not too much trouble to get out on a morning.

 
by Laura N (North Tees Hospital)
I’ve been working at North Tees for coming up two years and up to 2 months ago, I always drove. I never bothered to find out whether it was possible to cycle to work as I didn’t think it was feasible to make the journey, work a full shift, then bike home. I always thought I would be exhausted, especially cycling from Ingleby Barwick where I live.
It was only after suffering from a severe bout of post-viral fatigue which had lasted over a month, that a occupation health worker suggested exercising to help me overcome it. At that point I seriously started looking in to whether cycling could help.
I invested in a hybrid bike, a pannier set to allow me to bring a change of clothes and some dinner, a good helmet (which despite looking ridiculous, I am never without) and some appropriate clothing for the journey.
Now I cycle almost 14 miles every work day, and I can assure you, I look forward to every journey. Although the weather it sometimes against you, when the wind is calm and the sun is shining, it’s absolute bliss.
I get to enjoy seeing the birds every morning, having a little bit of workout (which makes that bag of crisps or beer in the evening all the more pleasurable) and once in a while I get to cycle past and appreciate the motor cycle enthusiasts club which meet along my route. Plus, I love cycling past all the cars stuck on Queen Elizabeth Way into Ingleby Barwick, a constant tailback which I used to be stuck in.
Beyond that, it meant that I overcame my post-viral fatigue in an incredibly short space of time.
I’ve never felt healthier, looked fitter or had as much energy, plus the amount of money I am saving on petrol is phenomenal! So many of my colleagues have noticed a difference that several others have started cycling to work too!
I would recommend anyone who’s considering it to try it just for a week, maybe two, especially at this time of year. Once you get over the slight saddle sore, it is genuinely wonderful.

 
by Paul G
Since I sold my car in march 2011 I have never been so active!
Recently I have bought a mountain bike initially with the idea of riding to the train station and then riding from Hartlepool train station to work. The overall mileage on the bike was about 6 miles a day. The train ride was fun, there is a section on the train where you can sit with your bike and strap it in so it didn’t move. This worked for a while but after a few weeks some of the conductors where getting quite strict with how many bikes are allowed on the train at any one time even if the train was quiet!
Every time I arrived at the station I would pray that I was the only one getting on the train so I could get on but one cold damp evening I arrived early and there were 6 cyclists here already. I started to panic, thinking hope I don’t have to wait for the next train etc. The busy Newcastle train came and all but 1 cyclist got on there! BONUS that means I should be alright getting on the train in future. NOT this nasty conductor, he took one look at me and said no chance! This set me off for my fist full ride from Hartlepool train station to Billingham, it took me about an hour but I loved every minute of it!
Ever since that evening I have not used the train since and I have cycled to and from work totalling 22 miles a day.
Hope you enjoyed my story.

 
By Nicola H (Five Lamps)
I moved to Redcar from Stockton about a year ago and with working in Thornaby, the increasing cost of petrol and the boredom of being sat in traffic jams made me think that I needed a new approach to getting to and from work.
I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to cycle, but not having a bike and being a bit unsteady when on one put me off!
In an attempt to get fit, I decided on the last April bank holiday to attempt the journey into work to see if I could do it! I borrowed my Dad’s bike and off I set. I was really pleased with the progress I was making and after getting a bit lost and ending up down Borough Road in Middlesbrough, my confidence increased. I then figured out my way towards the riverside cycle route and was really enjoying my cycle along the river in the glorious sunshine when I noticed that my back tyre didn’t seem right.
I decided it would be best to turn back home. I continued along the riverside in the opposite direction and was really getting into my ride when I had to admit to myself that my back tyre had a slow puncture. Being a novice, I’d left the house totally unprepared and didn’t have a puncture repair kit (not that I knew how to use one anyway!). Along the route I stopped and explained my predicament to a friendly guy who offered to pump up my tyre. He was really nice and even offered me money so I could get the bus or train back to Redcar! (in my excitement of getting on my bike, I’d left my house without my purse!).
I persevered along my journey with my newly pumped tyre. I managed to get as far as Middlesbrough Town Centre before the tyre gave way. I realised I would need to make an SOS call home … and realised my mobile battery had died. I told myself to keep calm and push my bike home (learning a lesson about not leaving the house so unprepared in the future!). I managed to push my bike to the bottom of the truck road in Redcar, where at that point the inner tube had wrapped itself around the wheel and got completely stuck.
I tried not to panic and had thoughts of abandoning the bike, when I noticed a vehicle recovery van parked up. I knocked on the widow and asked the driver if he could help (bike tyres and car tyres are similar, right?). He took one look at the bike and had a little chuckle. He told me that he was en-route to a job at Redcar and offered me a lift. I was obviously cautious about getting a lift with a stranger, but I remembered that there are some good people out there.
I got dropped off about 10 minutes from home and carried and shoved my bike to my door!
Despite having such a troublesome introduction to cycling to work, it’s not put me off. I invested in a new bike and the past couple of weeks I have been cycling into work 3 times a week. I really enjoy it and would recommend anyone to give cycling to work a try! You get to meet some nice people along your journey!

 
by Terry B (Northgate vehicle Hire)
Hi, I started riding to work 3 months ago its only 2.5 miles each way it was hard at first as I had not rode a bike since I was at school now being 40 it was a bit daunting at first my legs ached for the first month and colleagues at work laughed about an 18 stone man getting on a bike after all these years (now 7 of my colleagues cycle to work).
I do feel fitter having lost 2 1/2 stone so far, I now cycle for an hour every night after work and cycle every Sunday, Sunday gone me and my son and my brother cycled in total 34 miles it wasn't easy but it wasn't hard the only obstacle we found was on the way back we were riding into the wind which slows you down as you can imagine.
I use a hybrid bike as it’s easy to ride in the beginning I bought a mountain bike which was hard (for me) to ride so I switched to the hybrid which I enjoy riding.
My personal advice to any one starting to cycle after a long time not cycling is get a hybrid and start off doing 5 to 10 minutes everyday to build your legs up so that when you do start using it on a regular occasion you will enjoy the experience more and see more of the countryside we have that when driving you don't see or experience I am not a tree hugger or anything like that but you do appreciate the out doors more.
In a nut shell you will become more healthy and safe money. 

 
by Doug H (J.U.S.T. Unicycle Club) http://www.justonline.org.uk/
There's a guy called Paul Stacey who not only cycles to work most days but he actually unicycles on a big-wheel version!  No gears, no brakes, no handlebars, a fixed wheel and no steering ..... but still he manages to negotiate his way safely through the cycle lanes and traffic on his way to work at unicycle.com in Billingham (whatever the weather).
 
He's my hero!
 
Best wishes,

 
by Judith W
I have cycled to work occassionally over the last 3 years - it takes a bit of planning (eg bringing clothes in to change in to), but it's worth the effort.  This challenge has given me a push to cycle more frequently, and so far I have only missed one day, when I came to work in the car ( I would add though that I was going out for a long run on that evening).  I do feel better already for the extra cycling, and at the week-end when I went out for a ride with my husband, I had to wait for him to catch up!!

 
by Joanne R (NIFCO UK LTD)
I have been riding my bike to and from work for the last 4 years, I travel from Linthorpe Middlesbrough to Preston Farm in Stockton but had many problems along the way.
I have never really wanted to drive due to cost and lack of confidence, I have always tried to be fit and healthy and go to the gym regularly and thought one day that I would use my mothers bike to ride to work, to see if I could do it…..as the distance was a total of over 10 miles a day which I thought at the time was quiet a distance.
Since that day I have been riding my bike to and from work.
I bought my first bike about 3 years ago but got it pinched whilst running around Albert Park.
I then bought another more expensive bike which was stolen again from outside my local Tesco’s store 5 weeks ago, I have since bought another new bike.
Getting 2 bikes pinched in such a short space of time really upset me as a bike is my life line, people don’t understand how hard it is for me been without it, as I would struggle to get to work without it as it gives me my independence which allows me to go to work what ever time I want and leave when ever I want and I don’t have to depend on anyone else and also helps me to keep fit.
I am now on my third bike, and I’m not going to let these situations put me off as its now part of my daily routine as I enjoy the fitness side too.

 
by Matthew T (Tristar Homes)
08:10 am, Monday morning.  The sun was shining, the wind was blowing in my favour.  Travelled from Marske to Preston Farm Ind Est, Stockton. 
 
As I passed the slip road to Coulby Newham on the A174, I could see 2 mile tailbacks for the Thornaby Roundabout across 2 lanes.  Must have passed about 300 cars with their engines running in about 4 minutes.
 
I even got a few cheeky grins and waves as I slowed down while passing some of the larger vehicles.  Hopefully some of them will have seen the benefits of cycling during rush hour.
 
Since I took up regularly cycling to work in March this year, I have gone from 17st 12lbs to 15st 8lbs.  Although I’ve taken care of the exercise aspect I’m working on the diet part now, so that I can achieve a personal goal of getting down to 13 Stone before 2011.  Everyone tells me if I get to less than 13st I may look “manorexic”, so I will make a decision when I hit that target about losing any more weight.
 
I’ve spoken with Paul Morrison and he gave me some good advice to train my daughter to ride her bike.  Despite trying to teach her on and off since she was 5 I wasn’t succeeding, but within 2 days of applying Paul advice she has become an independent rider at the age of 7 and wants to come for rides with me.

 
by Fiona J
As I can’t drive due to health problems I have been riding a bike for a while. I was originally riding to and from work and then I went through a phase of health problems with my back and my joints and I ended up using a walking stick and was on morphine this time last year. Barely creeping along and really fed up as I missed the fresh air and exercise.
I began to set myself small challenges and started to ride round the park, then to Whitehouse Farm area for Weight Watchers as I had also put on a great deal of weight when inactive and had to try and get it off again so I could begin to feel fit again. I got a move to Stockton in November of 2009 which helped me a lot and shortened my working day and made life more bearable as I had been leaving the house at 6.45 to get a train to Middlesbrough in order to start work at 8. I had done this for 3 years and suffered badly with circulation problems in my hands.
Over the past few months I have ridden to work regularly in most weathers although I tend not to cycle in if it is raining it has caught me on the way home !! The guys at the hub have been so helpful and done all kinds of things for me to make life easier, recommending and fitting road tyres t make life easier, checked my bike and repaired bits on it or fitted anything I needed doing. I feel more confident now and am losing weight again, I have been off morphine for several months and not used my stick either so cycling has got me back on my wheels again so to speak and helped me to stay mobile and not stiffen up. I would recommend it to anybody who has joint problems as it keeps you moving and stops joints seizing up. I have my ride into work and know my bike is safe all day.