The August Candis magazine devotes nine pages to getting its readers on bikes. With a circulation of 458 779 Candis magazine is in the UKs list of the 30 best selling magazines. Its bigger than Loaded, OK! and Good Housekeeping. The article is brilliantly written and superbly photographed so will turn lots of people on to cycling

Big mag plugs bikes

OK, I admit it, I wrote the piece and took the photos so perhaps am not the best person to judge the quality of the coverage but it cant be escaped that nine pages of positive copy on cycling has got to be good.

And its ten pages if you count the editors editorial which also waxes lyrical about bikes.

Candis is a family lifestyle magazine, available only by subscription or via home delivery.

The unedited text I supplied is given below. The edited version gives a plug to Halfords and their stance as information provider for Sustrans.


Im an evangelist. I spread the good news. I get people to put their posteriors on thin strips of leather, and they love it. Once their bottoms are properly bedded in this normally takes three or four twenty minute rides new cyclists cant get enough of the fun factor.

Cycling is transport, leisure and a workout rolled into one. Its easy, cheap, green, independent, quiet, fast, convenient, door-to-door, healthy and, yes, fun.

As a regular cyclist I take the grin element for granted. But when I venture out with new cyclists its heartening to hear their comments of how much they enjoyed swooping down the hills with the wind in their hair, or getting deep into the countryside under their own steam.

Age is no barrier to cycling. There are plenty of octogenerians knocking out respectable distances on bikes.

For children, cycling is the freedom to explore. Teaching your child to ride a bike is a core lifeskill to pass on. But dont let kids have all the fun, go cycling yourself, the family that cycles together, stays together!

Ive got three children: a boy of two and a half and twin baby girls. This overnight menagerie hasnt stopped my wife and I cycling. With the right sort of kid-carrying equipment its possible to not just carry on cycling but extend the pleasure. Hanna and Ellie doze instantly once they are rocked to and fro in their child trailer, a Wendy house on wheels. And Josh loves going for long bike rides with daddy. He chats away merrily in his child seat and waves to people as we pass them.

When planning a biking day out, add in extra time for stopping to smell the flowers, pick up interesting stones, explore river banks, climb trees, play poo-sticks and loads of other activities open to children now theyre out of the stuffy, restrictive confines of a car.

Why cycle?

A bicycle is the most efficient machine yet developed. Invent it today and a Nobel Prize wouldnt be far behind. A bicycle converts food into forward motion. You put effort in to scale the hills but then get a free ride down the other side.

There are 20 million cycles in ownership in the UK. Most are languishing in sheds, unused, mainly because of the fear of fast-moving traffic. Pity. Cycling is a whole tub full of new experiences. Addictive too. Regular exercise stimulates the pleasure centres of your brain so the more you cycle, the more youll want to cycle.

But lets back-pedal. Is cycling unsafe? True, cars go too fast and come too close for comfort. But heres the good news, Britain is criss-crossed with 20 000 miles of bridleways and theres now a 5000 mile National Cycle Network which is either traffic-free or traffic-lite. You never have to mix it with cars if you dont want to. (See box on Sustrans). No car fumes, no congestion, no thundering juggernauts, no road rage, no hurry. Taking on a physical challenge as a family may be a new experience but once youve cycled on a traffic-free trail, youll certainly be back for more.

Cycling for all

Its possible for the whole family to enjoy cycling: from tots to grandparents.

Toddlers can be towed along in trailers and gramps can join in on his electrically assisted bicycle.

Even babies can be accommodated: strap their car seat into the five point harness of a child trailer.

For older kids not yet able to keep pace with parents you can get tagalong trailerbikes. These have a rear wheel and where the front wheel would be is a long attachment for hooking to the parents machine.

Health benefits

According to the British Heart Foundation, cycling at least 20 miles per week reduces the risk of coronary heart disease to less than half that for non-cyclists. Cycling also makes you feel younger and reduces stress. According to the National Forum for Coronary Heart Disease Prevention regular cyclists typically enjoy a fitness level equivalent to being 10 years younger!

And biking is good for fighting the flab: cycling at a moderate intensity of 12 mph on a flat road uses about 450kcal per hour. Thats burning off a large cream cake every sixty minutes!

Buying a bike

Before you head off to your local bicycle emporium ask yourself what kind of riding youre going to be doing. Mainly commuting on city streets? Always off-road? A mix of the two? Will your nice new bike be used for long-distance weekend touring or short rides down the tow-path to the pub and back?

A good bike shop will tease these sort of decisions out of you. Any shop which tries to foist you off with a bog standard mountain bike without quizzing you for your actual requirements should be shunned.

For most people, the ideal all-rounder bicycle is the so-called hybrid. This has the chunky frame of a mountain bike but has thinner tyres and may come factory-fitted with mudguards and a luggage rack on the back.

How much should I spend?

Whatever type and brand of bike you go for, if you want a reliable machine of lasting value it will cost £250 and above. All bikes may look alike but they differ significantly. Spending more gets you:

* lighter weight

* a more lively, responsive frame

* more precise gear shifting, braking and handling

* longer lasting, more serviceable componentary

Never scrimp and save, bikes are not toys. Bargain basement bikes (which you find in supermarkets and which you have to assemble yourself) are not cut out for real cycling.

Lovely in Lycra?

The American writer PJ ORourke once wrote that anybody caught wearing Lycra shorts past the age of 30 ought to be arrested by the style police. Plenty of people under 30 wouldnt be seen dead in them either. Shame, they dont know what theyre missing in the comfort stakes. Once you become a regular cyclist youll find skin-shorts are more comfortable than shorts cut for walking or sun-lounging. The extra length on the legs and the rubber thigh grippers on the hem are to prevent the shorts bunching up.

The best ones are 8-panel in construction, are cut high at the back and low at the tummy and are made from a heavyweight Lycra. Modern skin-shorts come with synthetic seat pads and all seams will be flat-locked so your delicate bits dont get chafed.

If black figure-hugging Lycra will never suit you, buy baggies instead. These are voluminous shorts which hide a Lycra short insert. Comfort without the embarrassment!

National Cycle Network

Weve not seen a national building frenzy like it since the birth of the motorways but now Britain can boast 5000 miles of National Cycle Network. The idea of Sustrans the sus stands for sustainable, the trans for transport the National Cycle Network was created thanks to £43.5m from the Millennium Commission, top-up cash and support from 400 local authorities, £1.25m from the cycle industry and donations from 30 000 Sustrans supporters. The Network is 5000 miles of continuous traffic-free routes and traffic-calmed and minor roads, running right through urban centres and reaching all parts of the UK. This is the first stage of a 20 000 mile network.

Tel: 0117 926 8893

Carlton Reid is the publisher/editor of BicycleBusiness,

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