#TransportOctober Roqib Monsur nextbike Ambassador explains why cycling is the best way to get around Cardiff
Since the bike-sharing scheme launched in Cardiff earlier this year, I was one of the people that took advantage of the scheme and began travelling using the nextbike for my everyday travels across the city. After using them a few times, I started raving about it to my friends and family, or anyone who would listen, and getting them to use it too.
I passed my driving licence during my time in sixth form, and like anyone my age at the time, I was eager to get my first car. However, I decided against it, not only because of insurance prices for young people and the cost of petrol, also because, how great the public transport was in the city. The fact that I could use the bus, train or walk to anywhere I needed, like work or university.
So when I heard nextbike was coming to my city, I was rather excited to give it a go. Not only does it reduce congestion and co2 emissions, as there is one less car on the road, I also found it cheaper than using a bus and quicker than walking.
For example, going to see Cardiff City play as a season ticket holder, week in week out can be frustrating and a massive thrill all at the same time. During the Bluebirds’ first victory of the Premier League campaign last week the atmosphere was incredible.
Since being promoted, our attendance as increased significantly, which is a good thing but that also comes with an increase of people taking their cars and using the buses to get to the stadium.
In a bid to reduce match day traffic, nextbike has installed a virtual station at Cardiff City Stadium and have a special offer for season ticket holders to ride for free during match days.
I have found since then, my journey to games are a breeze and so much more convenient than waiting on a cramped bus in traffic, before and after the game.
Why I became a nextbike Brand Ambassador
The nextbike has been hugely popular since the first bikes were installed earlier this year. At the end of the summer, after using the bikes constantly, the opportunity of being a brand ambassador arose, and I took the chance as I believed in the scheme and wanted more people to use them.
There was a need for more bikes and stations and since September, an additional 27 station and 250 bikes have been installed and there are now 52 stations and 500+ bikes, with plans to expand in the future as more people want stations closer to their homes.
It’s only been six months since the scheme started and we’ve already reached our 100,000th ride in the past few weeks and hit one million rentals in the UK since we launched!
#TransportOctobernextbike nextbike and future generations
Working with the office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and their initiative #TransportOctober, I took over their Instagram page. (link: Instagram.com/futuregencymru)
After reading their new report on ‘Transport Fit for Future Generations’, on alternative ways the Welsh Government can spend the £1.4bn, investing in cycling infrastructure was one of their recommendations.
I wanted to find out how easy it was to travel around the city for the day on the bike and what needed to be done to improve the experience for a cyclist, showing a few of Cardiff’s stations and attraction whilst at it.
At first – maybe a little optimistically! – I thought I could travel to all 52 stations in one day. But as the day went by, I realised that may not be possible. Not because of my fitness power, well maybe a little, but to do with my phone battery power!
Apologies on the delay on the Insta posts, promise you its not the traffic, just my battery 😅 Having to charge my phone at Starbucks whilst typing this on my laptop. Should be out and about soon!— Roqib Monsur (@MonsurMedia) October 18, 2018
Apart from a few stints being stuck near a plug socket, I did manage to ride around a few places for example, the St John Street station near Cardiff Castle to the Cardiff bay station near the Wales Millennium Centre.
I mention these stations, because the cycling infrastructure through Lloyd George Avenue, when you come back and forth, from the city centre to the bay is very impressive. Segregated / off-road cycle paths are a great way of making it safer for cyclists and encourages more people to take it up. I’ve been cycling since I can remember and being able to drive helps too with hazard perception, but I can see for someone starting off how daunting it can be to cycle, whilst cars are really close to you for example.
The ‘Transport Fit for Future Generations’ report, states that Cardiff council want 50% of journeys to be done by sustainable transport by 2021, with that increasing to 60% by 2026, I think cycling is one of the greenest ways to travel, and there have been great strides that have been made even during my lifetime. I remember a time when there were hardly any cycle lanes or cycle boxes at traffic lights.
But we need to do more; improve on cycling paths and infrastructure to make it safer, including changing how people think, why we should cycle more, and how it is helping the environment we all live in.
I hope <a href=”https://www.nextbike.co.uk/en/cardiff/”> nextbike </a> can help in that process and I believe it already is. People are using them more, rather than their cars, to get to work or meeting up with friends. I have also found the relationship between cyclists and motorists has improved, there seems to be more respect for each other. Of course, there are bad cyclists like there are bad drivers, but from my experience it has become more pleasant and I hope we see more people on two-wheels.