The easy answer is for transport and for leisure. But the question is really: why cycle rather than travel some other way?
Most people will have heard the environmental message, that by not using a car we can reduce pollution and congestion, particularly in urban areas. Cycling is one way of doing that, but has a great deal to offer you in its own right, too.
Regular exercise is important for health. Twenty minutes a day doing something that leaves you slightly breathless greatly improves your overall fitness. It is hard for lots of people to fit this into a busy lifestyle, so using a bike is ideal, because time travelling is also time spent gently keeping fit. People who exercise tend to live longer and with fewer illnesses. It can also help keep your weight under control.
Equally, cycling can reduce stress. Driving in urban traffic is a frustrating experience, often leaving you tense. By bike, journey times are more reliable and it is often possible to stay away from traffic and bypass queues. Something that lots of cyclists value is a sense of freedom, a break from the rest of the day and being in touch with the world outside. Going from a centrally heated house to a car and then an air-conditioned office deprives you of contact with your surroundings.
Cycling is very economical, even if you still own a car. If you don’t, for the same cost you can pay for lots of taxis, rail and bus fares and car hire, when the bike won’t do.
Journeys by bike in and around the City are generally quicker than by car – at peak times sometimes very much quicker. Because you can travel door to door and easily park close to your destination, you save more time.
Material dated: July 1997