Living longevity: cycling

Our Innovation Associate, Owen, shares his example of #livinglongevity: his 20 mile cycling commute.


Man with bike outside of The Catalyst

Over 350 miles tracked since August. Probably somewhere in the region of 500 miles accounting for the 6 months not tracked since March.

I have always loved cycling, so much so that I used to average over 150 miles a week. It’s a meditative practice. Get on the bike, move your legs, each pedal stroke a beat to which you easily settle. That’s what appeals to me the most, the quiet it affords your mind crunching the miles.

Since starting at NICA and moving to Chester-Le-Street, my commute 2-3 times a week has been a 20 mile ride, to and from the office.

The significance of this would have passed me by a little over a year ago, but today I know it’s something more. What starting at NICA has shown me is the importance of this act in contributing to my longevity.

It takes me on average 43 minutes to get to work. This is equivalent to the time it takes to drive (from Chester-Le-Street to Newcastle) at that time of the morning at ‘rush hour’. But instead of sitting in a car, contributing to the pollution of stop start traffic, I am getting exercise and personally working on my mental health. These all improve my overall wellness and support me to live a longer life.

Now I am lucky in the fact that The Catalyst provides employees in the building secure bike storage, showers and a drying room. Without these I may not be so smitten with the idea of cycling into work. However, that fact is a prime example of how things should change. Businesses and the infrastructure in which we occupy for work should be required to offer these facilities by law (especially if they offer cycle to work schemes).

We must also improve cycle infrastructure. I am not advocating that everyone should cycle 20 miles a day like myself, but giving people who live within 5 mile of their work, safe and inclusive cycling infrastructure is a must. Active travel is a key contributor to improving our overall longevity and breaking down these barriers must be addressed.

So, as I continue to commute by bike, I will take this action as my own little example of #livinglongevity.