Study area: Oxford
Cycling history: Long break
Themes: Exercise, Image, Enjoyment, Weather, Traffic, Infrastructure, Cost
Jon retired in 2008 and moved to Forest Hill, a small village to the East of Oxford, in 2013 where he was rebuilding a cottage which he shared with his partner. He had cycled extensively when growing up and had been given a Raleigh bike for passing his 11+ which he used to go to school and also to roam with his brother and friends. Jon continued to cycle to school until it became ‘uncool’ and he graduated to bus, moped and then car. He had passed his driving test at 17 and driven cars ever since describing himself as a `bit of a car freak’. The only cycling he has done since included while on holiday in the Channel Islands with his wife and with his son to teach him to ride.
Jon had developed diabetes as a result of being over-weight and had decided to retire from being an IT consultant to concentrate on his interests. He used a quad bike off-road for deer stalking; his other exercise came from walking his dogs and working on his property. Prior to the trial Jon did not own a bike or do any cycling. Jon had been advised by his doctor that he could improve his health by exercising and losing weight and thought the Wellbeing Trial was a good way of trying out cycling as exercise without any outlay.
In this film Jon explains how diabetes has affected his mobility and how he wanted to try using an E-bike for exercise, testing Oxford’s reputation as a cycle friendly city. He reflects on the enjoyment he got from using the E-bike, the benefits of the steady exercise but how vulnerable he felt riding at times and the poor state of cycling infrastructure. He also describes the challenge of weather, his problems with operating the E-bike and his surprise at their initial cost.