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The beauty of bicycles

There was an article in a cycling magazine a few months ago where the author began by describing how it felt when he first fell in love – how it was an all-consuming feeling, how he couldn’t bear to be parted from his loved one.  I remember thinking, what has this got to do with cycling?  He went on to say that although he was still very much in love, over time the feelings and the passion gradually diminished … until one day he fell in love all over again, but this time with someone else!  And then the author revealed – he was talking about a bike (and his new love was another bike)!  And the thing is – I knew exactly what he meant!

There are numerous interesting statistics on cycling and bicycle usage (such as 43% of the UK population owns or has access to a bicycle1 or that nearly three quarters of a million people in the UK use a bike as their main form of transport to and from work2).  But the really interesting statistic can’t be found easily, if at all, namely how many people have experienced the joy of free-wheeling down a hill?

For many of us, our first memories of cycling take us back to childhood. I remember desperately wanting a Raleigh Chopper, which at the time seemed the coolest thing in the world!  Perhaps that’s partly why owning a bike, buying a bike, and getting out there on a bike – whether you’re racing at an elite level on a top of the range road bike or tootling around slowly for fun – brings such particular pleasure.

Why do we cycle?

Around 3 million people in the UK cycle 3 times a week or more, clocking up something in excess of 3 billion miles.  That’s a lot of cycling!  And they can’t all be doing it just for the joy of free-wheeling down a hill … for as every cyclist knows, what comes down must have previously gone up!  So why do it?  Well, there are lots of reasons, including:

  • Health
  • Fitness
  • Social
  • Challenge
  • Competition

to say nothing of the enjoyment!  Or the exchange of looks with a car driver when you’re both waiting for the light to turn green.  For sure the car will shoot off and leave you standing, but you’ll have a lot more fun!

Check out an interesting article on 15 fascinating facts about riding a bike here.

And if you’re worried about safety, read this article from the National Cycling Charity CTC here.

Challenge – the feeling of accomplishment

We mentioned “challenge” above – and there is no doubt that this is one of the greatest feelings you can get on a bike.  The feeling you get when you reach the top of a hard climb is wonderful!

One very popular ride each year, which comes with a particularly hard climb near the end (Ditchling Beacon, average gradient 9% for almost a mile), is the famous London to Brighton bike ride organised by the British Heart Foundation (click here for further details).

Martin Bender, the Managing Director of Calderstone, did the ride again in 2014 and conquered the climb, and this is what he had to say: “I believe this was my 8th consecutive BHF Bike Ride to Brighton and each year have (somehow) managed to cycle to the summit of the Beacon despite lack of training and jay-walkers doing their best to prevent me!  A great sense of achievement, though, and the virtual freewheel down to the spectacular finish line on Brighton promenade cannot be beaten.”

Choosing a bike

So you’re convinced!  But what kind of bike do you need (or want, not always the same thing of course)?  A top of the range road bike, which can easily cost you several thousand pounds, a mountain bike, a hybrid?  What accessories?  And where should you go to look for it?

There’s no shortage of information on the internet, but with bikes – particularly because there are so many options and accessories (some of which can be quite confusing) – it often helps to refer to a catalogue.  Check out this link from Calderstone to see some of the benefits of a high quality product catalogue:

catalogue printing

and the advantages of dealing with experts:

why us?

Next time

Much as we’d love to talk more about cycling, the Tour de France, the Olympics,  Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, and all the rest, it’s time to move on.

In our next article we’ll be focussing on brochure design – how to ensure that your brochures do justice to your products.

[1] National Travel Survey

[2] 2011 Census