Claire Gribben says cycling has given her 'the freedom to explore the city'

“Cycling has given me the freedom to explore Hull in a way that just isn’t possible in a car”

As part of the Great Big Green Week, local communities across the country are taking action to tackle climate change.

And Claire Gribben is just one of those people who is actively making a change.

The Hull Friends of the Earth volunteer lives in Cottingham but regularly commutes to Hull for work or leisure.

She said: “Over lockdown I decided to take up cycling, and it has given me a sense of freedom to be able to explore Hull in a way that just isn’t possible in a car.

“It’s a much more active way of travelling and I mean that in more than one way. Now I have the opportunity to actively participate in the sights and sounds around me – there are so many interesting streets and snickets in Hull I would not know about if it wasn’t for my bike rides over the last 18 months. You also get to see wildlife and chat to people you’d never meet in the car.”

The cycle route Claire takes goes via Bricknell Avenue, Chanterlands Avenue, Victoria Avenue, Pearson Park, Beverley Road then onto Ferensway and into the city centre.

The Cottingham to Hull city centre route is currently undergoing major improvements as part of plans to plans to enhance cycling links between Hull and the East Riding.

The route will run from the city boundary on Bricknell Avenue, all the way to Bond Street. It follows Victoria Avenue through Pearson Park, and will feature upgraded off-road sections, linking with Waterloo Street and Charles Street towards the city centre.

The majority of the cycle track will be segregated from traffic or traffic-free, making it suitable for new or less experienced cyclists to use.

Claire said: “In the past I have been put off cycling as it seemed far too difficult, as well as having some incidents with aggressive and abusive drivers.  However, I decided to come at it with a renewed determination, and once I got past the initial saddle sore period I am so pleased I gave it a go.”

Claire is also keen to promote a more inclusive vision of cycling, and believes anybody can take up cycling with the right skills, support and motivation.

Claire met with representatives of Hull City Council to talk cycle lanes.

“I am not the typical person who rides a bike. Overweight and not particularly fit. But it’s often a much quicker way to travel, less hassle to park, and contrary to public perception it doesn’t actually rain that often.  You can carry a surprising amount too. Whilst cycling might not be for everyone, I  do believe if those who are able to started to use public or active transport options more often then that would make the streets a much safer, healthier, cleaner and more pleasant place to be for everyone – and free up the roads for those who absolutely need to use a motor vehicle.”

As part of the Great Big Green Week, Hull Friends of the Earth and CycHull recently organised a bike ride which drew attention to the critical role that active travel plays in combatting the climate emergency.

And with COP26 just months away, there’s no better time to encourage people to cycle and walk as a means of regular transport.

Claire said: “The event saw almost 30 people taking part from different ages, genders and racial backgrounds.  I got a glimpse of what it might look like to live in a city that embraces all the modes of travel in a green, healthy and progressive way.”

The Great Big Green Week takes place 18 – 26 September 2021, and is the largest event for climate and nature in the UK.

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