A fit and healthy alternative to the car

When new dad Simon Carpenter decided to reduce the cost of his commute through opting for a more #activecommute, he unleashed a host of other benefits too…

A fit and healthy alternative to the car

Work can be expensive!

As everyone knows, having a job costs money – there is the cost of getting there, lunches, a hot drink here and there to name a few costs we all have to find the money to cover.

When Simon Carpenter, a desktop support manager for SASH became a new dad, he realised that being a parent means making some savings where possible, so he decided to tackle the cost of his daily commute to work.

“I’ve been with the Trust for 12 years now and up until 2011 I drove to work as it is a 12 mile journey from my home to the hospital. That year, as well as becoming a dad, plans were in place to charge for staff car parking, so I decided to try and use the car less to save some money while my wife was not working to be home with our new baby.”

“I hadn’t ridden a bike for any real distance for a while but had an old bike that I could use and I also needed to work out how long it would take to complete my commute, which initially felt like a long time. To start off with I decided to drive most of the way with my bike in the car and then ride the last bit, but as I got more confident I reduced the distance I drove, increasing the distance I cycled.”

Learning from experience

“As I got more accustomed to the cycle, I looked for ways to make the commute easier, the main thing I found was that having a bag on my back made me hot so I invested a rack and panier bag. I also started using a cycle app to record my rides and measure how I was improving. I eventually manage to commute the whole journey but only did this a couple of times a week.”

“I can now comfortably complete a 16 mile commute in just under an hour, which is only about 15 minutes slower than my commute when I drive.”

Worth the effort

“From starting back in August 2011 I have now ridden nearly 8000 miles and saved myself about £1,800. Through making these savings I have been able to spend some of the money on a better bike and. I also don’t need to worry if there are any spaces in the carpark as I have a designated bike locker for my bike.”

“I also have seen the health benefits and an increase level of fitness. Plus, it’s a really good way to unwind after hectic day.”

Spreading the word

Simon has found switching up his commute choices to be hugely beneficial, not just for him but for the environment too, as he told us, “It is important for the Trust to encourage people to reduce their impact on the environment as primarily we are here to help people be fit and healthy, one easy way to do this is to encourage to look at alternative ways to commute.”

Simon has some words of encouragement for colleagues who would like to change the car for the bike too, “I would say start by finding out what cycling facilities are available at your place of work, speak to others that already cycle as they may have useful information on routes and things. You will notice that you feel healthier and be glad you cycled on the days where there are horrendous traffic jams. And it’s always best to be prepared, make sure that you are ready for any punctures by carrying a spare inner-tube and tools.”

If Simon’s story inspires you to choose a more active commute don’t forget to make your pledge to #activecommute here.