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Cyclists in the Department of Chemistry
Cyclists in the Department of Chemistry
Cyclists in the Department of Chemistry
Cyclists in the Department of Chemistry

Internal News - 21 June 2006

Chemists saddle up for National Bike Week 17-25 June

The Department of Chemistry is known for its research into environmentally-friendly technologies, but this week’s national Bike Week has given it a chance to prove its green credentials in practice.

A recent count found that 12 of its 25 academic staff regularly commute to work by bike – a 48 per cent rate that easily outstrips the national average of just three per cent of employees cycling to work.

Staff travel in from a wide area and have tailored their travel plans to suit. A commute from Bristol is tackled with a folding bike and train journey into Bath, enabling the family to sell their second car; other staff cycle in on the towpath from Bradford; while a journey from Weston is managed with a cycle to the town centre and a short bus journey up the hill.

Dr Toby Jenkins, who cycles in from Oddown, first took to his bike as a way of beating traffic congestion and cutting travel time, but now also feels much fitter for it. As a chemist he’s also keenly aware of the effects of car travel on environmental pollution.

He and many of his colleagues have taken advantage of ‘Cyclescheme’ which enables University employees to buy a bike and its accessories tax free, spreading payment over two years. For some people it can mean a discount of up to 50 per cent off a new bike.

‘The scheme is a great way of affording a comfortable up to date bike that makes cycling very very pleasant,” said Dr Jenkins. “It makes a huge difference – after two weeks of riding it becomes quite manageable and it’s just so convenient”.

For people who are nervous about hitting the saddle, Dr Jenkins suggests giving it a go a couple of times a week. To counter worries over weather or careless car drivers he assures that he has only been rained on five or six times in the course of a year, and that with a bit of assertive cycling most car drivers prove quite considerate. And if you’re brave enough to tackle Bath’s hills the department recommends North Road as the most manageable.

For more tips on making cycling uphill easier, information on the Bath University Bicycle User’s Group and details of the Cyclescheme visit the University’s transport web pages (see Related Links).

As part of National Bike Week over 1,500 events are taking place across the country to help people to find out more about the benefits of cycling and raise funds for Leukaemia Research. For more information about the Week and inspiration to give cycling a go see the Related Links section.