A helpful guest post by Catherine ELLIS, Hill & Ellis to show why it is so important to cycle at university and the benefits it could bring.

It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s eco-friendly. If your son or daughter has recently flown the nest to go to Uni, what better way to get about than on a bicycle? They will always have ‘wheels’ to get them where they need to go whether it’s a lecture or a drink at the student union. And, if you buy the right kit, it’ll last them well beyond graduation. 

Person riding black bicycle along a green, wooded road

Here are six reasons why you should support your newly fledged kids to cycle at university. 

It’s free

Apart from the cost of the bicycle and the vital accessories cycling every day is free, no charges, no petrol costs, no bus passes, nada. Let’s face it, the two crucial things you want them to leave Uni with is 1. A degree and 2. as little debt as possible. The cycle scheme has estimated that switching to a bicycle (from either public transport or driving) could save more than £3,000 a year. Even after the cost of buying the bike and essential accessories.  That is £9,000 saved for their university life. 

It’s good exercise

With team sports now being limited, it is really important to keep exercising, and cycling as transport puts exercise into the daily routine without adding extra time. Cycling to and from Uni can provide an hour’s cardio activity and can burn off approximately 300 calories and improve muscle strength and tone. 

It’s quicker

A recent report by INRIX, a data company specialising in roads, found that it was quicker to cycle than to drive, based on last mile speed in six major UK cities. 

With many cities now adopting 20mph speed limits for cars and buses, and significantly better cycle paths and cycle friendly traffic lights – this means cyclists can get across a city faster than ANY other mode of transport. 

A report by Find Property found that almost ALL journeys of under 5kms were quicker by bike, and public transport is only quicker if you travel more than 13kms. Based on my University exploits waking up late for lectures, vital time was only saved by pedalling a little faster. Believe it or not, time is of the essence at University and cycling helps you beat the traffic. 

It’s easy (and free) to park 

With universities getting bigger and parking charges increasing (some to over £10 a day) if the other option is driving, switching to a bike is a no brainer. A bike offers zero parking issues, if your child still hasn’t perfected the parallel park, cycling at university will solve the problem. All you need is a lock and they can park up their bike anywhere. As long as the lock is solid, the bike can be left safely overnight so if their plans change and the union bar gets extra attention, it can easily be left to collect the next day. 

It’s great for mental health 

Numerous studies have proven that cycling is great for mental health – it reduces stress, reduces risk of depression, improves sleep, improves memory, and improves productivity. A recent study by Cycle Scheme found 82% of people believed cycling made them feel happier and 75% of those who took up cycling regularly believe it improved their mental wellbeing. 

Blonde woman standing behind her bicycle with yellow satchel

It’s safer

Sadly, we are now living in a time of a pandemic and avoiding crowds and busy spaces is vital. Buses and trains are operating with limited numbers but ultimately there are numerous people in a confined space. Cycling at university instead of other forms of transport reduces the risk of catching Covid-19 significantly by avoiding contact with surfaces and people who might be infected. It is easy to cycle two meters away from any other cyclist and chances of contact are very low. Also as more evidence is showing that obesity and lack of fitness leave individuals more at risk of the effects of Covid, regularly cycling could help protect against the effects of the disease. 

Buying the right kit to cycle at university

Investing well in the essential kit for your “fresher” will ensure that everything lasts longer than the three years it will take them to get a degree. After which time they are definitely old enough to buy their own kit! A few well-chosen items could help them cycle at university for years to come and get fit in the process.

The Bike

Bikes come in all shapes and sizes and the price tag can vary dramatically. If they don’t have a bike already, it is worth checking out second-hand options to save on extra cost, eBay, Shpock and Gumtree all sell bikes but always ask for the original receipt to avoid buying a stolen bike. Another tip is to check out local police auctions, where they sell off seized bikes that they haven’t been able to trace the owner. If there is one near you they do offer some great bargains. 

Lock

A good lock will make sure the bike doesn’t get nicked. D-Locks are the best as they are the hardest to break open and some brands like Kryptonite offer a key guarantee so you don’t need to worry about the key going walkabout. If the key is lost they will replace it – just make sure it’s registered first. 

Person riding black bicycle along a green, wooded road

Helmet

Although not required by law, not wearing a helmet is just not worth the risk. And now with companies like Dashel and Closca, creating well-designed helmets, that are stylish to wear, helmets are on-trend. 

Lights

Investing in good lights is definitely worth the money. USB charging lights are brilliant; their luminosity is really high and allows the rider to see and be seen even on the darkest of nights. You can easily recharge them and no money is required for batteries. Beryl and Lezyne are some of the best on the market at the moment. 

Pannier Bag

Investing in a bag that attaches to the bike is vital. It takes the strain off the back and reduces those embarrassing back sweat moments. For example, Hill & Ellis pannier bags are built for life on and off the bike – transitioning smoothly from lecture hall to student bar. They are also small-batch produced and crafted to last so they will handle the daily life of being on and off the bike. They come with patented pannier hooks which attach securely to the bike, plus a one year guarantee. 

Encouraging your child (or should we say, young adult!) to cycle at university and feel confident on a bike is a gift they will carry with them into adulthood and they will reap the benefits for many, many years to come. 

Blonde woman standing behind her bicycle with yellow satchel

ABOUT HILL & ELLIS

Hill & Ellis produces a range of high quality, stylish cycle bags. Each bag, designed in the UK, is created to transition perfectly from home to bike to boardroom to bar. They are functional, fashionable, and hard-wearing. There’s plenty of space inside for a laptop and other essentials, and each bag comes with patented pannier clips that fit almost any bike, allowing you to clip the bag on and off quickly and easily. 

Pinterest pin of bicycle on road with shadow to the right

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