How Peter made the shift to pedal power

30 January 2020

Peter clocks up the miles on his folding bike

Rain or shine, staff and students at Sheffield University are used to catching sight of Peter Anstess whizzing around campus, cycling across the city to the many retail outlets that the University manages and turning up to meetings with his trusty fold up bike.

But life wasn’t always this way for Peter. After joining the University in 2006, Head of Retail Operations Peter spent his first few years getting around by car. He tells us, "My first 4 years working at Sheffield University involved driving and walking around the campus which would be followed by spending time and money parking using one of the ever more elusive parking spaces.”

Epiphany

In February 2011, Peter had what he describes as his ‘epiphany.’

“I thought ‘Why not get a bike?’ It was obvious once I'd thought about it!”

Peter looked to the University's Sustainable Transport Manager, Darren Hardwick, for advice and encouragement.

“Darren fully supported my idea and provided a fantastic Dahon fold-up bike which over the last 9 years has become my only way of moving around an increasingly congested city.”

Saving time and hassle

We tend to assume that driving is the fastest and easiest way to get around – but Peter’s experience is quite the opposite.  

“My journey times dropped by 75% - there’s no quicker way of getting from my main office on the Endcliffe Site to the main central campus area than cycling.”

A typical day for Peter involves multiple pedal-powered journeys. First up, there’s a daily 1.5-mile cycle journey from Endcliffe to the Diamond or Jessop Cafe area, taking him just a speedy seven minutes! From there Peter will move on to any of the 19 retail catering sites that the University operates around the city. Most days he clocks up at least four miles, some days considerably more. And it’s all free and hassle free – not a parking space panic or payment machine in sight!

The bike buzz

Peter is still as excited by the buzz cycling gives him as the day he got his bike. “Over the last 9 years I’ve covered over 8,000 miles around the city which is amazing considering all of the individual trips are under 3 miles. The fantastic team at the Cycle Hut next to Jessop West will testify to the miles.  It's still the same bike, apart from five new tyres, one new rear wheel, two chains not to mention the brake blocks that have all ensured that I'm moving about safely and efficiently.”

It’s phenomenal to think that since he got his bike, Peter has saved over 3 tonnes of CO2 emissions compared with driving those journeys.

Give it a go

Peter’s advice for people who aren’t yet making the most of the opportunity to cycle is to give it a go. “It's far easier than most people imagine it to be, and allows me to make great use of my time.”

The Step Up Sheffield challenge is the perfect opportunity to give cycling a go – participants can earn rewards for tracking cycling, walking and running journeys with the BetterPoints app. Even better, the University’s Sustainable Travel team offer a whole host of services to support staff and students who want to start cycling – from pool bikes and recycled bike sales to free cycle training and emergency repairs.

And when you give it a try, one thing’s certain – Peter will be cheering you along!