By Cheryl Smith
While treating illness and disease is at the core of any health service, tackling problems before they arise will be essential to dealing with the problems caused by unhealthy lifestyles and ageing populations. The Healthy Access project from Toothpick.com will empower people to make healthy choices by providing them with health data for each borough. The scoring system rates an array of services; GPs, hospitals and dentists as well as green space and the number of people who regularly cycle and walk. To check how your borough does or to see the full list of scores you can find the healthy access study on Toothpick.com
For now we are going to take a closer look at the top 5 boroughs for cycling in England.
Oxford takes joint first place and this will not be a surprise to residents as the local council has invested heavily into making the area a Cycle City. There are plenty of cycle lanes and signs directing people to cycle-friendly areas. For those just getting started, the cycle training courses have been upgraded, with free training accessible to all children.
There is ample green space and cycle trails to enjoy throughout Cambridge, with approximately 80 miles of cycle paths. Cambridge, like Oxford, is known as being friendly to cyclists, both during rush hour times and in the quieter parts of town. Cambridge also has a booming industry in bike hire with options for a day rental or long-term hire, mainly driven by the fact that the city is often easier to navigate with a bike.
Isles of Scilly
For a more remote and picturesque experience, the Isles of Scilly is difficult to beat. Each of the islands has natural trails and fantastic scenery, with St Mary’s and Tresco having dedicated tourist facilities including bike rental, nature trails, interesting wildlife and the option to go off-road if you’re feeling adventurous.
Richmond upon Thames
Richmond is a part of the London Cycle Network, so it naturally caters to cyclists with cycle lanes and safe spots. A centre point of the area is Richmond Park, with its beautiful and cycle-friendly scenery making it a go-to location for bike riders of all kinds. Whether you are looking for a direct route to a location or want to cycle for health and exercise reasons, Richmond Park is the place to go. There are also a number of cycle tour companies that can guide you around the best kept secrets of the town, including some great trails along the River Thames.
Hammersmith and Fulham
This busy area created a cycle route during the early 1980s and this commitment has led to its high Healthy Access score many years later. Travelling around busy, congested parts of London can be stressful, but Hammersmith and Fulham have attempted to make cycling more enticing with better cycle lanes and driver awareness of those on bikes. The council has also invested in cycle training and maintenance courses to help new starters get involved.
Photos by Ben30 / Tejvan Pettinger (Flickr)