Travel healthier - cycling

It's widely accepted that cycling is a great form of exercise - it helps people meet the physical activity levels recommended by the NHS and it's good for mental health and well-being.

It also reduces the risk of life-threatening conditions that are costly to treat such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Some recent evidence for the benefits of cycling include:

  • Compared to commuting by car, cycling is associated with a lower chance of dying from cardiovvascular disease (-24%) and cancer (-16%)
  • According to a study that followed 8,000 school children over a period of years, pupils who walk or cycle to school may have a healthier body weight than those who arrive by car.

(Source: Cycling UK)

Happily, cycling is easier to fit into the daily routine than most other forms of exercise because it doubles up as transport to and from school, shops, work etc and it's much cheaper and, potentially, more scenic than going to the gym. It's also one of those rare activities that appeal in different ways to people of diverse abilities and ages. Cycling can pretty much suit anybody, whether you're sporty or not. And for those with disabilities, several charities now offer both advice and inclusive cycling sessions. As Wheels for Wellbeing says "Cycling can be easier than walking, a way to keep independent, fit and healthy, a mobility aid and a useful form of everyday transport."

If you decide you want to get on your bike in 2023, you might be interested in some of the projects happening in Essex.

FREE adult cycling training for adults

Whether you’ve never learned to cycle or need a bit of a confidence boost, we offer FREE adult cycling courses. These include our beginners Learn to Ride training (45 minute sessions, maximum of four), Confidence-building session (two hours in length, one session only) or Advanced session (a 1-to-1, two hours in length, one session only). All training is delivered by our qualified instructors. Get in touch by email.

FREE family cycling training

We have developed family training to help all family members get on their bikes. Whether you’ve never cycled or it’s been a few years since you got on your bike, our training is personalised to your family’s needs and is completely free. Get in touch by email.

Bikeability training for schools

From basic cycling skills to advanced journeys, we work with The Bikeability Trust offering cycle training for school children across Essex. Get in touch by email for more information.

Join your local cycling group for support, help and fun

Across Essex there are plenty of local cycling groups which have something for everybody, no matter the ability level - just go online to find your nearest one.

The Love to Ride Essex community runs challenges throughout the year offering prizes for cycling and allowing riders to compete on a variety of leaderboards.

Colchester Bike Kitchen and Wivenhoe Bike Kitchen are DIY community bike workshops run by volunteers. In returrn for a small donation you can use their tools either on your own or under the supervision of their friendly mechanics.


Colchester Wheels for All offer cycling skills at the Colchester Sports Park no matter what your experience or ability is.

Colchester Cycling Campaign contains some great inforrmation about cycling in and around Colchester as well as tips on buying a bike, bike hire in the town, bike basics and learning to ride.

The Big Bike Revival has been running for a number of years now to inspire the 42% of people who own bikes but who don't cycle, to start! With events across Essex, people attending benefit from free cycle checks, servicing, cycle maintenance workshops, cycle training and accompanied rides. Find an event.

Big Pedal is the UK's largest inter-school cycling and scooting challenge. It inspires pupils, staff and parents to choose two wheels for their journey to school. Each year Essex schools compete nationally for prizes and awards. Why not see if your school participates or how you could enter.

The Cake Escape encourages Essex residents and visitors alike to grab their bikes and cycle to local cafes. Each time you collect four loyalty stamps, you'll receive a free slice of cake at one of the participating cafes.

Useful links

The National Cycle Network is a network of cycle routes in the UK and is managed by the charity Sustrans. Currentlyy spanning 13,400 miles, it was officially created in 1995 and now passes within one mile of half of the population. Routes 1, 11, 13, 16 and 51 all pass through Essex.

Infographic of the benefits of active travel