Saturday, 4 January 2014

She Spoke to Shaz About Bikes in Birmingham

Shaz with has OCR Giant Road Bike

I met Shaz at Bike Lounge Christmas Party in December 2013.   Whilst were waiting for the party to begin we sat and chatted about bikes and biking in Birmingham.

Tell me about your bike and where you got it.
I have a Giant OCR Road Bike, which I got from Birmingham Bike Foundry.   I had dropped by there quite a few times as I was looking for a Road Bike.  I spotted the OCR and I thought I want that bike.  So I took it for a test ride in a car park, and after 5 minutes I knew that I wanted that bike.   I didn't really know how to ride it, so I went out for a bit longer and I got the hang of it.    I previously had a Hybrid before,  but I find riding a road bike so much easier, especially around the hills of Birmingham.

Why do you cycle?
I only learnt to ride a bike about a year ago.   I had some professional lessons for Purrfect Peddalling.   As soon as I learnt to balance and pedal, I just went straight out on to the road. I don't think I really had the skills to be out on the road on my bike at that time. I probably should have gone on cycle routes and quiet roads before going straight to main roads.  I was just excited that I had learnt to ride.
Over the year I have gained a lot of confidence & skills, I know the Highway Code and I adhere to it and I am a much better and safer cyclist for it. 

Where has your bike taken you today?
My has taken me to The Bike Lounge at the Hare & Hounds Pub in Kings Heath,   I live near the City Centre, so my return trip will be about 8 miles.

What is your favourite place to cycle to in Birmingham or the West Midlands?
I really like to cycle to the Licky Hills.   I generally go from my home the Licky Hills along the Bristol Road.    I don't think that this is a pretty route, it's quite a difficult route,  but I really like it because it's really challenging.  I really like the Licky Hills,    It's nice to cycle there, have a bit of a hike in the open air of the Hills and then cycle back.

Tell me something else that you do on your bike other than pedal.
I spend a lot of time thinking when I'm on my bike, especially if it's a nice clear day and a clear route. I Normally think about work or what I'm going to have for my dinner.   Riding my bike gives me so much freedom.   As long as my route is clear and easy with regard to traffic, cycling is such a great way to clear my mind.

What do you think Birmingham could do to make the infrastructure more user friendly for cyclists? I am not a cycle commuter, but I do cycle a lot for leisure. I would say make improvements to junctions, However, I don't think that would make things safer for everyone as we don't all want to cycle on the road.   At the moment I think that only 1% of journeys in Birmingham are done by bike, which is ridiculously low.    So I think we need more traffic free routes like the Rea Valley Route, for people who may be unsure about cycling.   More traffic free routes may give people who are thinking about cycling the urge to have a go.

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