Win 2,500 BetterPoints by inspiring others to switch to healthier and greener travel habits
Fiona’s change of job meant a short walk to work was no longer on the cards. However, with a new bike and the support of the Changing Steps Cardiff challenge, she’s been able to steer clear of using the car for her commute and leisure trips. Here is what she had to say:
Before joining the Changing Steps challenge, what were your travel habits like?
“I was walking to work on Heath Campus, which is a matter of minutes away from my home, but I’d use my car for shopping or errands into town.
I joined the challenge when it first launched as it seemed logical to log my walking and running and earn rewards for it.
In December I started a new job as Scientific Safety Adviser that required me to work on the Cathays Campus, which is a much longer journey.
I wanted to avoid using the car, so I decided to give cycling a try. My older daughter had ‘stolen’ my bike after growing out of hers, so I invested in a new one through the cycle to work scheme that is better for commuting and which I could use pannier bags with. I’ve used it 4 or 5 times a week ever since.”
How has the app helped you to travel more actively and sustainably? What features do you enjoy?
“I like the fact that it is automatic, that you don’t have to stop and start it to track your journeys.
The app has been an important motivator, particularly in the first few weeks when there were sub-zero temperatures every day or it was pouring with rain.
I had days when it was raining when I woke up and I thought, ‘oh should I just drive in today?’, but then I steeled myself, got on the bike and just did it, knowing I’ll feel better for it and there is a reward at the end.
There have been times where I’ve headed out for a walk and forgotten to take my phone. When I’ve realised I’m really annoyed that I’m missing out on some valuable points!
I’m currently saving up to redeem a Decathlon voucher, so I can buy something cycling or running related."
How have your travel habits changed?
“I think twice now about getting in the car. Whereas before I would use it to go to the shops I’ll cycle or walk there instead.
I’m involved in environmental sustainability initiatives at work and try to have a ‘green’ impact wherever I can, so I’m pleased that my travel choices are helping with this.
The new cycle lanes on Cathays Terrace and Allensbank Road, which is almost finished, have made a big difference too. I feel a lot safer using them compared to the public road.”
Have you noticed any benefits as a result?
“The fact that I’m driving less means I’m saving on petrol and not paying for parking at the university.
It’s been really good for my mental wellbeing as well, getting outside in the fresh air twice a day, every day.
Even after only a few weeks, my legs already feel stronger. It’s mostly downhill on the way into work but there’s a hill that I have to climb on the route home that is definitely getting easier.”
Not yet earning rewards for walking, wheeling, cycling and taking public transport to campus? To join Changing Steps Cardiff simply download the free BetterPoints app via the buttons or QR below, register with your cardiff.ac.uk e-mail, and tap Challenges to get started.