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News : Commuting by bike and train

As the onset of the credit crunch continues to bite, it is more likely than ever that many of us will have to look outside the district for work.  With that, however, comes the real prospect of spending more and more time travelling –  leaving us with less and less time to spend with our loved ones.  But there is another way.

Travelling by train is more often than not quicker and cheaper than travelling by car, but that still leaves you with the journey from home to the station.  For the district’s increasing legion of cyclists, that bit of the journey is now simpler than ever before.

In addition to the miles of new cycle routes in the district, additional bike lockers have been installed at Lancaster train station to help you make your journey by bike.  We spoke to two commuters who use these modes of transport every day to travel into and out of the district to get to work.

Dr Mags Adams, senior research fellow at the Acoustics Research Centre, University of Salford said “I work at Salford University and live in Lancaster, commuting by bicycle and train three days a week.  My commute involves cycling to the train station for the 7.47am train, locking my bike in the cycle storage at the station provided by Lancaster City Council and walking over to platform four.

It’s been a real advantage having the cycle locker, especially in winter when it’s been raining.  I can store all my things – wet trousers, pannier, helmet, and reflective jacket – in the locker and they’re dry again when I get back in at around 6pm.  Even when it’s a dry morning I can leave my lights and pannier on the bike – prior to that I had to take all the cycling gear with me on the train which was a bit of a pain.  I really enjoy my morning cycle to the train station – it’s not a long ride, about 10 or 12 minutes, but it’s refreshing, wakes me up and I’m ready to get my laptop out on the train and do some work.”

Damian Bonsall, the district’s new Sustrans’ Bike It officer who works in partnership with Lancaster City Council’s Cycling Demonstration Town Team to encourage more youngsters to cycle to school commutes from his home in Kendal by bike and train to his workplace at Morecambe Town Hall.

He said  “When I took up my position in March this year, I found that putting my bike on the train wasn’t as straight forward as I thought.  There are only four spaces for a bike between Glasgow and Euston so I needed to remember to reserve a slot every day for the morning after.

However, I soon got around this problem by riding to Oxenholme station on an old bike which I leave chained up on the platform and leaving my work bike in a city council locker at Lancaster station.  This is really convenient as I just pick up my bike in the morning and ride through to the office in Morecambe or to one of the Bike It schools using the various cycle routes on offer.  The size of the locker also means I can store bits of equipment including my lights and I don’t have to worry about a bike lock.  They’re under cover and very secure.

This route to work suits me really well.  I’ve only been in the job for a couple of weeks and I feel fitter already.  The journey to Oxenholme from my home only takes about 10 minutes but it’s up a big hill so I feel like it’s doing me good.  A 14 minute ride on the train gives me just enough time to read my paper before I embark on the 4 to 5 mile leg of my journey to Morecambe by bike."

If you would like to give travelling by bike and train a go and need a locker to help you on your way, contact Matt on 01524 582616 or at mmoran@lancaster.gov.uk.   Lockers are subject to availability and require a deposit of £50 refundable on return of the key.