By Poppy Chesterman, aged 10 years old.
Cambridge is a wonderful place to cycle in. It has beautiful buildings and stunning parks and scenery. It’s also a great way to stay fit and healthy. Another good thing about cycling is that it helps reduce pollution in the city. There are many different types of people who cycle in Cambridge: people commuting to work, students, tourists and mums cycling into town with their babies. Usually it’s quite busy when you cycle on the road and sometimes you are close to huge buses or large white vans. It reminds me of what it must have been like in Cambridge many years ago, however also makes me think of cycling in a futuristic world. It’s most interesting cycling where there are lots of people and where you can see new and familiar faces. I have been cycling in Cambridge ever since I could cycle with stabilisers and before that I was on the back of my parents’ bike. I love the air brushing against my face as I hurl along the road.
At my school, once we get to year 6 we take our cycling proficiency test. This lasts about 8 weeks. You bring your bike to school and learn about things such as which side of the road to cycle on and putting your hand out when wanting to turn. I think that I will feel more confident once I have passed this test.
I usually have weekends cycling with my family at places like Thetford forest. Thetford forest is a large forest in Norfolk and has different cycle paths for all ages. There are different levels of challenges from green to black, green being the easiest and black the most challenging, this is similar to skiing. I enjoy the red runs because they are extreme however they are still a great challenge. We often take a picnic so that we can relax whenever we want, however there is also a cafe. If you need a bike you can hire one or buy one if you want to upgrade. There is also a repair shop which is handy if you get a puncture.
Another place I really enjoyed cycling was when we stayed 6 nights in Northumberland. We stayed in a small log house. We took along our bikes and cycled around the lake, called Kielder Water. It was a week of cycling up and down hills which is very different to what I’m used to in Cambridge! It’s fun when you go downhill because you can let yourself feel that you have zero control over the bike until you reach the bottom.
Cambridge could improve cycling in the city by looking for inspiration from other cities and countries. For example in Copenhagen they have built a bridge that is called the snake and is only for cyclists. This means that cyclist can get around the city safely and it looks really cool. In Copenhagen, some people cycle to the city to get to work, school or college. In my city, Cambridge, some people use a bike once a week so it is less than Copenhagen. Maybe in Cambridge they can increase the bridges and cycle pavements in a similar way to Copenhagen, making it a safe and easy place to get from one place to another and away from cars or large buses. Lots of cities would be better with more space to park everyone’s bikes, so maybe Cambridge could build a cycle park underground next to the station like they have in Malmo in Sweden. This would help encourage more people to cycle. I will soon be cycling every day to school when I move up to secondary school. I will cycle with my friends and it will be a great fun way to start the day.
Where do you like to cycle?