Tag Archive | "bicycling"

Cycling Holidays in the UK

Fantastic Ideas for Cycling Holidays in the UK

This guest post is by Shannen Doherty of http://www.iexplore.co.uk/activities/cycling.

While the French can perhaps be justified in their claim as being the leaders in cycling holidays, others are now not so far behind. This includes the UK and discovering London on a cycling holiday is surely one of the finest ways to spend part of your summer. Here is how to make the best of it.

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The Beauty of the Bicycle

There is perhaps no better way of experiencing a new destination than on a bicycle. Indeed, for family holidays in the UK, arranging a cycling tour of the country’s capital city is sure to go down well with everyone. Cycling at a pace that suits you and the rest of the family, stopping for a chat with the friendly locals or visiting the local sights has never been easier. In fact, simply watching the world drift slowly past is a pleasure in itself.

Cycling in London

The good news is that recent improvements mean that riding through London is now better, safer and infinitely more enjoyable than ever before. In particular, the addition of numerous new cycle lanes and special cycle routes makes cycling in London considerably more pleasant than you would imagine. Furthermore, the recent introduction of the cycle hire scheme means you could always choose to pick up your bikes when you are there.

Nonetheless, cycling in London, much like any other major city, is not without its dangers. With this in mind, some safety measures should be adopted. For example, wearing a safety helmet is essential while wearing some kind of reflective clothing, such as a high-viz vest, is highly recommended. You must certainly always make sure your lights are all in good working order before setting off.

One point to bear in mind should you or the family not be ready for great distances is that much of London’s transport will allow you to take your bike on board. However, more often than not, this allowance is restricted to folding cycles. These can be taken on virtually every form of public transport including overground and underground trains, the tramlink and even some buses (this often depends on the driver).

Meanwhile, non-folding bikes can be taken on the majority of overground trains, while non-folding bikes are allowed on certain underground lines outside peak hours, such as the Circle, Hammersmith & City, District and Metropolitan lines. The best thing to do, however, is to check in advance when planning your route.

Cycle Route Options

One of the best ways to take in London on a bicycle is to restrict yourself to the banks of the River Thames. Much of the river is lined by long stretches of traffic-free routes. Indeed, the Thames Path National Trail that runs from the source of the River (in the Cotswolds) to the Greenwich Thames barrier is one of the nineteen official UK national trails.

The official Thames Cultural Cycling Tour, which stretches for some 27 kilometres, is another fantastic option. This route is specifically designed to include much of London’s maritime history and begins at the famous South Bank then winds through Rotherhithe towards Greenwich. From here, the route then continues beneath the Thames to Canary Wharf and onto Wapping, before winding back over Tower Bridge to the South Bank.

Further options include the Lee Valley route, which lies to the North-east of London’s centre and strectches for some 26 miles. In addition, the route that takes in the south-westerly region of Sutton, Croydon, Merton and Wandsworth and is known as the Wandle Trail has always proven a popular favorite.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers..

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7 Ways that Bicycling Can Save the Environment

We all learned to ride one as a child, but then sometime after we turned sixteen, most of us abandoned that sleek two-wheeledbicycle in favor of a car. If you are thinking about getting green, here are some green facts to show you that rediscovering the bicycle is a great way to start.

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Beyond getting green, people choose to ride bicycles for many different reasons—it could be to save money on the commute to work, for fitness (instead of driving to the gym to use an electric stationary bike), or to visit a friend in the neighborhood. Regardless, the choice favorably impacts the environment several ways, in addition to reducing CO2 global warming.  

Riding a bicycle will:

  1. Reduce carbon emissions – According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a car driving an average of 12,500 miles per year will expend 11,450 pounds of carbon dioxide. That's nearly one pound of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas responsible for CO2 global warming, for every mile driven. If you choose to ride your bike to work just one day a week, you can reduce your contribution to CO2 global warming by 20% annually.  
  2. Reduce America's dependence on fossil fuels – Every gallon of gas you put into your car comes out of the ground. Recent events, including political unrest in oil-rich countries and the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, show the high cost we pay for this dependence. If you use bicycling as one of your ways of getting green, you'll minimize your own dependence.  
  3. Decrease the need for more roadways – While you may not be ready to trade in your car, every day you stay off the roadway reduces the need for your space. If others also choose to bicycle some days, cumulatively there is less need for our ever expanding highway system. That means more trees, more open space, and less resources needed to build the roads.  
  4. Reduce landfill waste – One of the encouraging green facts is that 75% of the parts of a car are recyclable, but Argonne National Labs estimates there are still at least 3 million tons of non-recyclable shredder residue head to landfills each year. If you bicycle more, you will create less wear and tear on your car, which means you can keep it on the road (or in your garage when you're biking) longer and reduce your contribution to the landfill.  
  5. Improve air quality – The Environmental Protection Agency, a great source for green facts, reports that transportation accounts for 33% of CO2 emissions in America, with more than half of that coming from cars. Bicycling is a zero emissions way to get from place to place; as a cyclist, you will definitely appreciate clean air.  
  6. Reduce cold start emissions – Cars are most inefficient when started and for the first few miles of driving.  If cycling all the way to your destination is prohibitive due to the distance, cycling part way and then taking mass transit may be possible.  By skipping the short drive altogether, you will reduce your impact on CO2 global warming. 
  7. Protect wildlife – According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates, 60 million birds are killed each year in collisions with cars. Reduce the miles you drive each week, and you'll reduce your negative impact on birds and other wildlife.  

For more green facts and getting green ideas, visit Going Green Today for a 90-day customized action plan that can help you protect your health, save money, and reduce your impact on the Earth.

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