Chris Boardman has revealed he sold his car after not using it for two months during lockdown.
Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner gave up his Audi A5 after not needing it during the coronavirus pandemic, and is encouraging others to try and go car-free for two months to see if they can survive using public transport, cycling and walking.
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“Giving up the car is something more people could do,” Boardman told the Telegraph. “Keep the car as your comfort blanket for two months and just try travelling by public transport, cycling and walking and see how that feels. I live by an old Beeching line – a disused railway – and it’s just 30 minutes to a station that links to Liverpool or Chester, so I can get to Manchester for work. Without insurance, fuel and maintenance, I am already saving £800 a month.”
Boardman has also been cycling to his local Halfords, who acquired Boardman Bikes back in 2014, to help out amidst soaring sales and staff shortages.
“I’ve been using the bike to commute because I’ve been helping out in my local Halfords said. “When they had a massive increase in orders and no staff, I helped to build bikes one day a week.”
The Olympic gold medallist hopes the pandemic will help bring in a national cycling revolution, and says the government’s response to encouraging two-wheeled transport during the coronavirus has been exemplary.
“I keep saying we’ve got 20 days to change the next 20 years and I don’t think that is too melodramatic. In some places we have seen 300 per cent increases in bike journeys.
“You turned off traffic. You gave people a safer environment. And more people have been using bikes. We’ve shown we’re just as capable of being a cycling nation as anywhere else in Europe. So in the midst of this crisis you think: actually we could change the future here.”
The UK Government have fast-tracked £250m of emergency funding to create pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors within weeks as part of new funding to support safe transport during the coronavirus pandemic.
Vouchers will also be issued to help people pay for bike repairs and plans are being developed to make more bike fixing facilities available.
“Wording in the announcement was strong, unequivocal and backed up by legislation with similarly clear wording for councils. We have never seen anything like this before, it is a step-change in the Government’s position that should not be underestimated,” Boardman told Cycling Weekly at the time.