One of the many advantages of cycling is that it saves me money on trips to the city centre. Whereas I used to have to pay something in the region of £1.80 an hour to park my car, now I pay nothing for the use of one of the many bike racks in the area. The down side is that a bicycle isn’t ideal for doing much shopping – even if you have panniers fitted – though I would happily stand to be corrected if someone could show me a convenient way of doing it!
One of the things I enjoy most is a ride to the library. My local one is okay, but it’s a satellite library and often doesn’t have much in the way of stock. A few books can easily be fitted into my backpack, though, and the one in the city centre is always well-stocked. It even has a particularly good cycling section!
Unfortunately, one downside of the route is that the cycle paths have largely fallen into disrepair. They look like they were constructed a number of years ago, and are largely shared pavements with pedestrians – not ideal, but much better than nothing. My ride into the city was plagued with pot holes, heavily cracked pavements, overgrown paths – even a tree across it at one point – as well as it being thick with moss and leaves, making the ride quite treacherous at times. Cycle paths need more than just to be painted and left indefinitely. They need to be maintained just as much as regular roads and pavements – so if yours is falling into disrepair, like mine, have a look at http://www.fixmystreet.com/ where you can report such problems and receive updates on progress. Let me know if you have any success!