Steph makes a heart shape with her hands above her head. Blue sky with clouds in background.

Modeshift Travel Champion – Everyday people inspiring everyday journeys

Active Travel Ambassador (ATA) Coordinator for the South West, Steph Lake, lives in South Bristol, and cycles as often as possible, for transport and leisure:

‘Often, especially when traveling in the city, its quicker to travel by bike! I am fortunate that where I live, I can get to the city centre, and even to the Bristol to Bath cycle path, completely on segregated cycle, which makes a huge difference.

 What motivates you to try and travel actively and sustainably?

I am a big environmentalist, so doing what I can to reduce my impact on the planet has always been a key driver for me with the choices I make. Travelling actively (walking/wheeling) is one thing you can do to directly reduce pollution and improve local air quality but there are lots of other benefits that come with making more active journeys. It’s also a brilliant thing you can do for your community: taking a car off the road, improving road safety – reconnecting you to your local environment, local amenities and nature – and it is deeply social, especially for young people exploring independent travel for the first time, it can be empowering. As well as your health – physically, mentally and emotionally – exercise, fresh air, time to think and observe – I honestly love it!

My job also inspires me to keep choosing active travel (even in the dark and rainy months). I get to work with brilliant young people across the region, equipping them to identify and take action on transport issues in their school communities, through designing and delivering active travel (walking/wheeling) behaviour change campaigns. I am continuously inspired by their ingenuity and creativity, and want to do all I can to amplify their work and create change! (see the Active Travel Ambassador programme for more information on this scheme).

How would you encourage others to be a Team Modeshift Travel Champion?

I would love to see more people making everyday active choices when travelling to work/school, the shops, socialising, or for leisure. You don’t need all the gear to have an idea! Cycling is for everyone. A cycle, helmet and lights are all you need.

I would also love to see more women wheeling – all ages, ethnicities, sizes and life stages – and wearing anything they want. If you are interested in wheeling/cycling my advice would be to start small and build the habit of getting on your bikes to the shops, work, pub etc. Get out with your friends. Use one of the electric bikes as a taster, riding in more secluded areas to build confidence. Search for the existing groups and support where you are – linking up to make it more accessible. There are brilliant national initiatives out there like ‘She’s Electric’ and ‘Cycles Sisters’ you should look into. Community groups are a brilliant way to get started – search for groups on social media is one great way to find them. There are cycle centres, bike libraries, Bikeability training, the Sustrans networks, Love to Ride incentives and competitions you could introduce to your workplace, football teach or book club. There are bike loan and free trial schemes often run through the local councils, as well as cycle-to-work schemes which anyone can request.

It’s so freeing and fun, as well as often time-saving (if you live in a city like me) and brilliant for you and the environment! Give it a go.’

Are you an inspiring #TravelChampion or is there someone who inspires you to travel more sustainably?

Are there any challenges you have had to overcome to travel actively that could inspire others to do the same?

Share your story with us by completing and returning the Team Modeshift Travel Champion form (Word 79Kb)

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