The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Cy­cling is great, but not for every­one

- Bicycles · Outdoor Hobbies · Hobbies

In the early days of lock­down we be­came ac­cus­tomed to cer­tain items on our shop­ping lists be­com­ing as scarce as hen’s teeth. Toi­let rolls, hand sani­tiser, flour and pasta flew off the shelves, leav­ing many des­per­ately hunt­ing for sup­plies.

Lately an un­likely new item has been added to this in­ven­tory: bi­cy­cles.

Buy­ing a new one has be­come much harder – and the wait to get one re­paired ever length­ier – as more and more of us get on our bikes.

Whether purely for ex­er­cise or to get from A to B with­out hav­ing to don a mask and brave pub­lic trans­port, pedal power has rarely been so pop­u­lar.

Coun­cils are right to seek to tap into this new-found pref­er­ence for two wheels – and two feet – to press home ef­forts to en­cour­age al­ter­na­tive trans­port.

The ben­e­fits to our own health and that of the planet have long been recog­nised and this is an op­por­tu­nity not to be missed per­ma­nently to change be­hav­iours.

Of course, pol­icy mak­ers must not over­look the ge­o­graph­i­cal fac­tors that make car use a ne­ces­sity, not a lux­ury, across large parts of our re­gion – and that means th­ese changes must not come at the ex­pense of up­grad­ing the road net­work.

But ini­tia­tives such as pub­lic bike-hire schemes, which have proved so pop­u­lar else­where, must be worth try­ing in our town cen­tres.

“How­ever, the changes can­not be at the ex­pense of im­prov­ing the roads net­work for car users”

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