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As part of national Bike Week, charity project support officer, Claire Finn tells us about her experience cycling to work with Dr Bike

Wednesday, 02 June, 2021
As part of national Bike Week, charity project support officer, Claire Finn tells us about her experience cycling to work with Dr Bike

I’m Claire Finn, project support officer for the charity and volunteer team and recently I took part in a cycle to work as part of the trusts cycling initiatives. I’ve always loved cycling and when I was younger I went on lots of cycling adventures to places like Malawi and Borneo. However, over the years life seems to have gotten in the way and my bike was getting dusty in the garage!

The volunteer team support the Dr Bike+ scheme in the trust by providing a volunteer to help with the free servicing of bikes. Helping to arrange this awakened my passion for cycling again so I decided to get my bike serviced through the scheme.

I’d lost a bit of confidence cycling. I wanted to hop on my bike and do more leisurely cycles, enjoying the outdoors and nature rather than feeling stressed about being in heavy traffic. I hoped to cycle to work a couple of times a week but the thought of cycling 15 miles both ways in peak traffic, worrying ‘do I have enough time?’ and ‘will the shower be free at the other end?’ filled me with dread. I decided to speak to Dr Bike about routes from where I live to Cobalt, my base site. He suggested we do a practice ride together so he could show me the best route to take.

So, a few weeks ago, the sun was shining and we did a practice ride after work and to my surprise it was only 9 miles. We cycled on a track under the A1, through the back of Gosforth and on the tracks via Longbenton through the Rising Sun and Wagonways and ended up at Cobalt in under 50 minutes. I was so happy as we’d avoided all the main roads, it didn’t take long and we had some great views on the way. I thought this would be a great way to start the day in the future. We cycled back after a short break but unfortunately the weather turned and there was a snow storm (in May!) so I wasn’t feeling quite as happy then! Luckily, I had my waterproofs and gloves at the ready so it turned out fine.

I would recommend to everyone, if you can, to dust off your bike, take up the offer of the free service through the trust scheme and give cycling to work a try. If you’re not sure what route to take or don’t have much confidence, speak to Dr Bike about the best route – there are so many cycle tracks around and it really helped me. You can also download a cycle map app and plan your route that way. I’m certainly going to do it again when I have an office-based day. This time I’ll check the weather though!