Column: Green campaigner Laurel Spooner says cycling is clean, healthy, sociable, environmentally friendly and saves money. She believes more people should turn to it to get from A to B

THIS column starts with a thank you to the Colchester Cycling Campaign.

Its cycling and walking manifesto, jointly put forward with Walk Colchester, was accepted by all four main political parties, as reported by the Gazette in early May.

It means our new borough council is committed to implementing it.

Plans are there for walking and cycling networks to be linked up, dangerous junctions to be made safe, signage to be made clearer and for 20mph speed limits.

It’s already a proven success in Brighton, for example, and many measures reflect what we have learnt from the Dutch.

These days we have such a wide range of pedal-powered machines there aren’t any age limits.

Ninety-year-olds are out on e-trikes and parents take their babies and toddlers in cargo bikes.

Folding bikes have increased the scope for mixed transport, like biking to the station to catch the train or driving halfway to work and cycling the rest.

E-bikes have increased the range and avoid a sweaty arrival.

They, too, come in foldable form.

A folding bike means you can hop on public transport if the weather changes but, remember, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing”.

And there are now adult e-scooters.

Colchester is trialling a fleet, plus the many flashy little children’s scooters even toddlers can use.

So more of us should leave the car at home.

Apparently even for distances of one to two miles, more than 60 per cent of journeys are made by motor vehicles and around 80 per cent of car journeys are less than five miles long, to work, schools and the shops, for example.

Doctor Laurel Spooner at home in Colchester..

Doctor Laurel Spooner at home in Colchester

Perhaps a better option than owning a car is renting one.

If your annual mileage is around 7,000 miles or less, this is financially attractive.

With home deliveries so popular, owning a car just to do the supermarket shop makes no sense.

Colchester Cycle Campaign organisers have put in years of hard work making the case for a safer cycle network.

But cyclists are also responsible for keeping themselves safe and the pedestrians they encounter.

Everyone should consider taking advantage of the best safety equipment, including vastly-improved helmets, hi-vis clothing, lights, bells, mirrors and flags.

Helmets can even have webcams!

Cycling lessons and bike maintenance courses are available for all ages in Colchester. Just search online.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, one silver lining was the chance for families to cycle together on the quiet roads. Let’s see that continue.

Colchester has miles of safe cycleways already and an excellent cycling map available online.

Pedal power is clean, healthy, sociable, environmentally friendly and saves money.

It’s extraordinary how the very young feel older and the old feel younger when out on their bikes.

Essex County Council organises bikeability lessons for adults and children.

Also take a look at and

Re-Cycle, meanwhile, is a great charity here in Colchester.

It repairs and sends donated bikes to countries in Africa.

It’s also a great place to buy a second-hand bike.

For more information, head HERE.