Cycling UK member Lynette Mantle on her bright orange tricycle
Cycling UK member Lynette Mantle on her bright orange tricycle

Trike ride to work is a convenient commute for Lynette

What would your reaction be if you saw a 68-year-old cycling along a busy ‘A’ road on a bright orange tricycle? If you travel around the Tewkesbury area in Gloucester, this could be a familiar sight!

Cycling as a mode of transport is wholeheartedly supported by Cycling UK and encouraged through our Big Bike Revival campaign. We spoke with Cycling UK member Lynette Mantle about her experience.

Lynnette, who lives in Grafton, has been involved in cycling for many years and is a well-known figure using her tricycle - a standard mid 70s frame with trike conversion - to commute seven miles to work each day.

She is a great example of using cycling as a regular form of transport, explaining: “Cycling became part of our family life when our two children were young. We had one car and needed to find other forms of transport to get to work. At that time my job involved driving so I enjoyed the break of cycling to and from work, I’ve always enjoyed experiencing the great outdoors through cycling.”

“I often used the bike for journeys like Stow-on-the-Wold to Chipping Norton (approximately nine miles) which involved travelling on busy ‘A’ roads. I always felt that I had just as much right as any other vehicle to travel on these roads so it wasn’t a concern for me.”

2009 proved a difficult time for Lynette, who was facing the prospect of never getting out on her bike again. She explains: “I’d already had one successful hip operation when I had the other hip replaced. It was supposed to be the most up to date artificial joint you could have but frustratingly it broke after nine months – the break was nothing to do with cycling or anything I had done but my consultant advised that I would not be able to cycle again.

“I was told, if I wished to be able to ride a bike again, my only option would be cycling in the gym on a static bike. That really didn’t appeal to me, I wanted to be outside with the wind blowing through my hair. I can remember feeling very down and upset at the prospect of not being able to get out on my bike again, and whilst taking out my frustration on my computer I discovered information online about tricycle racing.

“That was a turning point. I didn’t want to race but I knew I wanted a tricycle so set about finding one.”

"You constantly need to control a tricycle so I have gained more confidence over the years cycling on the roads because you need to ride [down the middle of the road]."

Lynette Mantle, Cycling UK member

Lynette’s first trike was a Pashley which was great at getting her mobile again after her operations, however with tricycles they are heavier and take more manoeuvring, particularly round sharp bends and corners!

“I’ve ended up in a ditch a few times after too tight a turn,” said Lynnette, “Luckily they were soft landings so my hip consultant didn’t need to know about it!”

Eventually she wanted something lighter that she could get into the car easily and opted for the bright orange conversion she enjoys today.

Lynette said: “As well as the steering, dealing with the camber of the road is different. It is not safe to be close to the drain covers so you need to cycle down the middle of the road. You constantly need to control a tricycle so I have gained more confidence over the years cycling on the roads because you need to ride a tricycle this way.

“I can honestly say ALL motorists give me a lot more space because of the tricycle. Yes, it is bigger than a bicycle, but I think the perception is that it’s a lot bigger so motorists give me the right room when passing. I’m also such a familiar sight to the regular commuters on the A46 to Evesham - we respect each other.”

Over the years, Lynette has got out and about on her trike and travelled further distances. As she explains though, the short commute to work is certainly time well spent: “If I get the bus into town to work, I would catch it at 8.00 and walk in the door at 8.55am. However, on the trike, I leave at 8.20 and I'm at my desk at 8.50.”

The Big Bike Revival campaign supports community groups and volunteers around the country to encourage people to get their bikes out of the shed or garage and up and running so they can cycle more frequently, and Lynette is a supporter of providing opportunities to others to try cycling.

She said: “I feel it’s a shame that so many people perceive cycling as slower than other forms of transport, when there are so many journeys where it would be the quickest. Plus, with short distances it’s not overly energetic so it’s easy to freshen up and change once at work.

“Also, I have real concern about pollution and am keen to do my bit to help environmentally. I don’t believe options like electric cars will be the answer, we need to do more to encourage people to consider cycling as a regular form of transport, particularly for commuting.”

Lynette is a long-standing member of Cycling UK having joined in 1990 and continues to highlight the benefits of tricycles whenever she can. She believes that if more tricycles were readily available through retailers, they would become a more popular option, continuing: “Sadly I have met many people – both men and women – who fear cycling on the roads. I have always offered to meet up and go on a ride with them but their fear prevents it. Riding a tricycle won’t be for everyone, but it may help some people’s confidence cycling if they had the chance to try it.”

Lynette has described herself as "an eccentric soul on her orange bike", we think "an inspiring soul showing the true value of cycling" is much more accurate!