Marie's tipping point
It often takes an external influence to get someone to start cycling, be that moving house or changing jobs. In academic circles these are known as transition points (or tipping points). In Marie's case it was her car breaking down. Lizzie Woodall tells us more:
Marie Mulvey Roberts’ car battery was flat. It was a beautiful, crisp Autumnal day. This was her perfect opportunity to make that first journey to work by bike.
I met Marie by pure chance. Walking down my road in Easton, a woolly-hatted lady on her bike stopped to ask me where the Bristol to Bath Railway Path was. What luck for her! She only went and asked a cycle adviser!
Of course, I was more than happy to point her in the right direction, also supplying her with a copy of the Bristol Map for Cyclists.
I asked her where she was heading: “All the way to Windmill Hill! It’s a 12 mile round trip to work and I did it by bike today for the first time!” she said.
Well that was more than enough to impress me. I asked her what her journey was like and what inspired her:
“There was an article in the UWE staff bulletin about encouraging staff to cycle to work and I thought I could try it.
“I wasn’t sure which route to take, but I met a colleague this morning on my way to the St Mathius university campus and he showed me the way that he rides. It’s up near Oldbury Court Estate, and the route takes me through Eastville Park [the site of some new Cycling City paths] and Snuff Mills. It was absolutely beautiful and it felt like fairyland or as if I was in another country! There were swans and a huge lake to cycle round.”
“On the way home, my colleague took me past his Mum’s house for a cup of tea. We got talking, and I realised that this never happens when you are in a car. I actually felt a bit weak this morning as I am just recovering from a cold, but I still rode in. I feel so much better now!”
I watched Marie cycle happily away towards the cycle path. She had a fantastic first experience of cycling to work, and with a little help from her colleagues, found a route that suits her and takes her into parts of Bristol that she had never seen before.
That reminds me, which new route shall I take home this evening...