C: Can you tell our readers a bit about who you are and what you do?
My name is Nigel Myers and I am the Economic Development manager for Colchester Borough Council and my role is leading a team who is the main business interface with the Council.
C: Brilliant, thank you for that. So diving in straight to our main focus here- cycling- would you say you are a keen cyclist?
Um, I think I’d describe myself as a ‘born again cyclist’. And this is because before I joined the Council I worked for a company in business development and I would travel by car probably 20 000-25 000 miles a year to different parts of the country, so I never cycled before I joined the Council. Since I came here I’ve been living quite close to work -about 2 miles away, so it just seemed to make a lot of sense to cycle to work rather than get a car. And I find actually that when I do get the car it takes me 20 minutes because of the traffic in the morning and when I cycle it takes me 10 minutes.
C: It’s obviously better…
N: It’s a no-brainer, really, from that point of view.
C: So you cycle more to work rather than leisure time.
N: I cycle to work every day. I don’t really cycle other than that, I’m not a Bradley Wiggins fanatical [laughs]
C: So how do you find cycling to work? I’m asking because some people are reluctant to do it and say that it’s inconvenient to cycle in formal clothes.
Yeah, I think that provided you have the right equipment and the right clothes (weatherproof equipment) it works really well. On my bike I have large panniers so I can get my computer and all my work stuff with me. There are times when it’s a bit windy or the weather is not great, but I think you get used to it.
C: It’s just not such a major problem, is it?
N: Yeah, exactly. In fact, I was quite surprised recently when I did the bike challenge organized by the Colchester Borough Council and I measured my travel to work and back for a week amounting to 35 miles over five days. I didn’t think it was as much as that, I thought it was less than half of that, I don’t know why.
C: Do you think you started cycling again because of the town itself or simply because you live conveniently close to work?
If I am really honest, I think it is the second reason. Although now that I got into the habit of cycling, even if I was 2-3 miles further away I would still consider cycling into work. And when I go to a business meeting somewhere in London or Chelmsford and there is an option to take my bike on the train, I normally do it.
C: So you are slowly but surely getting more into cycling…
N: Yeah [laughs] And I also find that now I am hardly ever off sick- maybe two days in five years, whereas before I was probably taking more time off. I don’t know if there is a connection there or not, but maybe there is. And I feel fitter as well. I have quite a big hill on my way to work and when I first started cycling it was really, really hard work and I would sometimes get off and push the bike. I wouldn’t say now it’s no effort, but I’m used to it and I feel the difference.
C: Would you recommend cycling to work to your colleagues?
I try all the time! I’m a bit of an evangelical when it comes to cycling. It’s really difficult though, I think that when people get into a habit of doing something, than it’s hard to change that.
C: Yes, it certainly requires some effort. Well, thank you for talking to us, Nigel, it was great hearing your point of view on cycling!