Cycling to work is the best option

Issue date: 20 October 2011

Bristol UWE Travel Challenge

Cycling is officially the best way to commute in Bristol according to the UWE Bristol Travel Challenge. A group of four staff from UWE Bristol took part in a race today to find out what mode of transport is the fastest and the most satisfying for the daily commute to work.

Part of the range of activities that the university has been running this week to celebrate Sustainability Week the Travel Challenge saw four competitors each choose a different mode of transport - car, cycle, bus and running shoes.

The cyclist made it to UWE in 17 minutes and the car took 36 minutes more on an average commuter journey today.

The commuters all started from the same point on Gloucester Road, approximately 3.5 miles from the main Frenchay Campus.

Sustainability Week organiser, Vicki Harris said, “We are delighted that the cyclist and the runner came first and second as these two modes of transport produce the lowest carbon footprints of all travel modes. It's also fantastic to have proof that the bus journey overtook the car – a testimony to to the efficacy of bus lanes.”

Steve Ward, UWE Bristol's Transport Planner, cycled the 3.51 miles arriving on Campus at 08:29 in first place in just 17 minutes, at an average of 12.39mph.

Steve Ward describes his journey, “Setting off, I immediately realised I had left my gloves at home – not a great idea on such a cold morning. Leaving the car park Geoff sprinted off like a bullet. About 20 yards later the lights turned red at the junction of Sommerville Road. Not a great start for me!

“Turning off Gloucester Road, up Cricklade Road and onto Kennington Avenue a broken down car blocked the road with steam coming out of the radiator. So the cold snap was causing difficulties for others too. I sailed down Ashley Down Road and Ralph Road, past a queue of stationary traffic along Muller Road then over the new cycle bridge on Petherbridge Way. There was a long, but not very steep climb up Dovercourt Road and this was nice and quiet, with hardly any traffic.

“I continued through the traffic-free path by the Bonnington Walk rugby pitches and round the cycle paths by the MOD. Seeing someone running in the distance ahead of me, I wondered if Geoff had kept up his pace and was about to beat me to the finish line. But the runner wasn't wearing Geoff's trademark Hawaii shorts, so I breathed a sigh of relief.

“I arrived at the cycle park by R2 building not too out of breath, but with very cold hands. Wish I'd remembered the gloves! I had a shower and some coffee and waited for the others to arrive.”

Geoff Andrews ran the 3.24 mile journey in 28 minutes at an average speed of 6.94mph. He said, “I had a very enjoyable and energising run into UWE from Gloucester Road today, and I feel fresh for the day ahead. Regular running has been a very good way for me to keep fit and healthy- and it is free too. I was able cut through bits where the car can't go. Overall - a great journey to work!”

Caroline Bartle, from the Centre for Transport and Society, travelled to work on the bus. The 4.13 mile journey took 39 minutes and the average speed was 6.35mph. Caroline describes her journey, “I don't usually take the bus, I normally cycle, but I did so today for the travel challenge.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the bus experience. Firstly, there were plenty of UWE buses at that time and I let two pass before the start of the challenge (including a free student bus). The U2 bus I used was new and comfortable, and it was full but not over-crowded. We inevitably got stuck in traffic a few times, but the waits were not too long, and a lot of time was saved by the new bus lane between the MoD and UWE.

“I found sitting on the bus a bit boring as I normally cycle, but now I've tried it I see it as a good alternative and will probably use the bus rather than the car on days when cycling is difficult, for example in bad weather or when I have lots of things to carry.”

Billy Clayton drove to work and the 4.13 mile journey took 53 minutes, travelling at an average speed of 4.68mph. He arrived at work at 09:05, over half an hour after the cyclist.

Billy said, “I usually cycle to work so driving in was a bit of an eye opener. I found the journey really frustrating even though I had the radio on. The traffic was chock a block and I literally crawled into work, a journey that would normally take me 12 minutes on my bike. I wouldn't choose to come into work again in the car; normally I arrive feeling energised after a cycle but this was quite the opposite in terms of a travel experience.”


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