Cycling top-tips for Sheffield

The Green Impact blog is being handed over to the Student Services teams this week! This post is by Rita Hordosy, Post-Doctoral Researcher on the Sheffield Student 2013 Project, Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Unit (WPREU), Projects and Development Team. If you or your team would like to contribute to the blog, email

1)      Why cycle?

Cycling is lovely, I can assure you! There are a number of very clear benefits of using your bike to get to work a bit more:

It’s quick! In case you live within a few miles from the University, it is likely to be the quickest way to commute to work. It is especially useful to avoid the morning traffic and whizz past the queue of cars and busses.

Credit to Tejvan Pettinger for this image

Image by Tejvan Pettinger

It’s healthy! Even the NHS’ website suggests that it is a great way to get into shape using your commute to work as the daily exercise; cycling is ‘a low-impact type of exercise, so it’s easier on your joints than running or other high-impact aerobic activities’. The hills around our beloved city might pose an initial challenge, but you will get used to cycling uphill within a few weeks.

It saves money! You will be spending less on petrol, bus fares – and doctors 

It’s green! Why not go for the zero-carbon option and support the University’s Green Impact initiatives even whilst you are about to get to work?
2)      But cycling is uncomfortable…

…I hear you say. Well, it’s certainly a bit of an issue that you might arrive to work a bit sweaty. This is precisely why there are multiple showers available in different buildings across campus.

Throughout the winter and the rainy months it is wise to get some rainwear and warmer clothing. You don’t need to dress in lycra from head to toe to enjoy your rides though! Look up Chain Reaction Cycles for some good deals, or pop to Decathlon for a few items.

3)      Learning to cycle

Sheffield Cycle Boost organise cycling courses and will suggest the best way to get to work from yours! You can also hire a bike from them to try whether this is something you would enjoy.

4)      Getting a bike

Take a look at the University’s version of the Cycle to Work Scheme via The Deal and save money on getting a brand new bike. Recycle Bikes can provide you with refurbished used bikes in Heeley as well.

5)      Oh cycle lanes, where are you?

Sheffield does not have the most incredible cycling infrastructure; there is a long way to go until it will be as easy, safe and comfortable to get around as in Amsterdam or Copenhagen. The City Council has a map of cycle lanes throughout the city, which tend to be on quieter roads parallel to the main arteries of the city, or as segregated cycle lanes along the bigger roads. To get to the University use this handy route planner. Avoiding the tram-tracks is probably a good idea; they do get very slippery when wet. You can find further safety tips on the University’s Cycle Forum.

6)      Parking & Locking your bike

There is plenty of parking space around on campus, but it can get busy at times; see this map for suggestions on where to leave your bike. It is crucial that you have a good quality lock and learn to lock up your bike properly. You can get high quality D locks from the Cycle Hut or via the Online store.

7)      Cycle safety

A few suggestions from the THINK! initiative for cycling:

  • Ride positively, decisively and well clear of the kerb – look and signal to show drivers what you plan to do and make eye contact where possible so you know drivers have seen you
  • Avoid riding up the inside of large vehicles, like lorries or buses, where you might not be seen
  • Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor
  • Wearing light coloured or reflective clothing during the day and reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark increases your visibility
  • Follow the Highway Code including observing ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights
  • THINK! recommends wearing a correctly fitted cycle helmet, which is securely fastened and conforms to current regulations

8)      Bike maintenance

It is very important to have your bike checked and serviced at least yearly. You can use the University’s Cycle Hut, which is open every Tuesday and Thursday term time and Tuesdays outside term. Otherwise, pop to Bike Rehab for maintenance.

9)      Getting involved

University cycling groups

Local cycling campaigns

And a note to our colleagues who drive to work…

Not everyone can switch to using their bike to get to work, of course, but you can also contribute! By taking a bit more care and caution when driving around cyclists we can make our roads a safer and better environment to everyone. Please give us enough space when overtaking and at junctions as required in the Highway Code! Also if we are cycling further out from the curb, this is usually to avoid the multiple potholes or the opening car doors that can be very dangerous to us, hope you understand this. Thanks a million!  For more see the THINK! initiative’s suggestions for drivers.

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