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Walking, Running and Riding is not just a weekend activity!

It’s funny how most of us wait until the weekend to go walking or running in lush countryside…but why?

Go for a Walk in your Lunchbreak

Have you ever done a satellite-view search in Google Maps to see what greenery there is near your workplace or home? It’s very interesting, as there’s often pockets of greenery in places near to you that you weren’t aware of.

Take a look at Google Maps and see if you can find any green gold mines! From the head office’s doorstep you would not imagine how much greenery there is beyond a few buildings, but it looks like this:
View Larger Map

My colleague, having worked here forever, has been taking walks on his lunch breaks around the local canals and fields and now knows the ins and outs of where they lead, and don’t lead! Using Google Maps, he’s since been able to show me obscure paths and trails where I can stretch my legs over my lunch. It means that now I get some fresh air and break-up my day with a brisk energising walk.

Commute by Bike into Work

I’ve always been into mountain biking, but since starting work for CheapTents.com, my colleague showed me some routes from my home into work using Google Maps again.  There are about 3 routes, but naturally, as I enjoy the countryside I took the most scenic, following the Trans Pennine Trail from my doorstep into work.  It might take 20 minutes longer that driving but certainly adds a highlight to my working week.

Cycle to Work Scheme

Cycling to work has great benefits for the environment as well as health benefits and financial savings.  The Governments Cycle to Work Scheme helps encourage employees to cycling into work by offering financial incentives through a salary sacrifice.  This is a summary of how the cycle to work scheme works:

  • The employer buys the bike and cycle safety accessories selected by the employee;
  • Most employers can reclaim the VAT on the bike and accessories purchased;
  • Most employers can claim capital allowances on the bike and accessories purchased;
  • The employer loans the bike to the employee for an agreed period. This hire period is normally 12 to 18 months. The employee pays hire charges to the employer through a salary sacrifice arrangement for the duration of the hire period;
  • As a result of the salary sacrifice arrangement the employer saves the Employers NIC (generally 12.8%) of the salary being sacrificed;
  • The scheme does not automatically mean that the employee is entitled ownership of the bike and this must negotiated (there may also be tax implications);
  • The Cycle to Work scheme is only available in the UK

Many bike retailers offer this sort of scheme, but you will need to get the go ahead from your employer.  The Department for Transport has information on the Government cycle to work scheme here.

Cycle to Work Week 2009

And remember, cycle to work week is 13th-21st June, but don’t leave it till then to start commuting by bike – there’s nothing like starting today to do something good for your health, wallet and environment!

Take a look on Google Maps yourself and discover places to take a walk in your lunch break or nice routes to ride into work a couple of times each week. It’s not worth waiting for the weekend to come about for your to get out into the countryside, why not look at ways of getting some fresh air during the week?

Do you have any methods of enjoying the local greenery, parks or countryside during the week? Any other tips?

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