RISING fuel prices are driving Huddersfield’s commuters out of their cars and on to their bikes
Cycle shops around the town are reporting big increases in sales of cycles for getting to work.
According to retailers, the main reason for the shift to two wheels is the desire to save money, with the added bonus of getting fit along the way
Andy Bentley, owner of Wheelspin Cycles, of Albert Street, which has been in Huddersfield for 30 years, has seen a rise in sales, particularly to people who have decided to cycle to work.
“As petrol costs have risen, there has been a definite increase in sales.
“One person rides their bike to work and discovers that it is a pleasant experience, talks about it to others and it has a knock-on effect. Our customers are our best advert.
“The Huddersfield hills are not so bad, for most of the way you are on a main road or cycle way. About a seven or eight-mile commute seems to be the maximum for most people.
“But we are seeing an increase in electric bikes as well. They have a special motor which is designed to give assistance to the rider.”
Mr Bentley said that some riders were saving £25 a week or more in petrol costs as well as wear and tear on their cars in slow-moving traffic.
He added : “Economics are having a big effect on cycle sales, although there has been a resurgence of cycling as a pastime as well. We have some successful professional riders on the world stage, which has boosted the image of cycling.
“We are still lagging behind southern areas and London where there has been a massive increase in cycling to work.”
A spokesman at Halford’s Bradford Road store said: “We have definitely seen an increase in bike sales, a lot of people are now commuting to work on bikes.
“More than anything, the main reason is petrol costs, followed by the fitness aspect.
“As the price of a tank of petrol has gone up, bikes have become a strong point for us.”
In February, Examiner multi media desk editor Graham Brown, 56, began cycling into the Bradley office three times a week from his Holmfirth home – a round trip of 26 miles.
He said: “It saves me about £15 to £20 a week. Cycling is less stressful than driving, you are constantly moving and not stuck in traffic, and I feel fitter.
“I am training for the Yeovil to Huddersfield Pedal for Pounds, so it helps me to get 75 or 80 miles a week under my belt.
“Cycling around Huddersfield, you are always going to hit hills, but the main problem is the state of the roads. You have to be constantly on the lookout for the road surface.
“Having said that, it is less frustrating than driving a car to work and back.”