West Space > Self-help > Active Travel in West Lothian > Active Travel Community Stories

Active Travel Community Stories


Before I started to cycle to work I was travelling by car from Edinburgh to Livingston. Not the shortest commute but as I could reach the canal quite easily it meant a relatively straight forward cycle with not too many geographic difficulties. A good google session before to become acquainted with the route, especially satellite photographs, and an unhurried trip out one weekend as a rehearsal. What prompted me to apply for the bike to work scheme was my employer made it available and the bike I had at the time was not really appropriate for such a lengthy commute through insufficient gearing.

The process was, for me, very straight forward – I sought permission from my employer and found out exactly how it would affect my pay after deductions and how much the final payment might be.

The benefits from cycling to work are great. I turn up at work with a clear mind and am able to focus better. I have also noticed positive effects on my fitness and sleep. There are also the secondary effects of saving money on fuel and wear and tear on my car.

There are definite positives for my mental health too. The sense of achievement  for one thing – whether that’s just doing it for that very first time, or managing to do it even if the weather is not to great. The clearer focus when I arrive at work – because I’ve cleared my mind to concentrate on the cycle, and just feeling more relaxed. As I said earlier the knock on effects of getting a bit fitter and better sleep are welcome positives for one’s mental health. If it is an option for you I’d recommend going for it. I definitely think the longer term gains are more than worth the short term costs.


My commute to and from work is a really important part of my day and one of the ways I look after my wellbeing.

It is a great way to de-stress as a brisk walk in the fresh air means I arrive to work feeling more energised and positive and helps me to be more productive. It’s also a great way to unwind after a long day, so I arrive back home ready to relax.

Walking is a great way to feel grounded and practice mindfulness by taking notice of my surroundings and appreciating the small things, like the flowers in the park or the late winter sunrises.

Another benefit of choosing to walk to work is that it is a great money saver and as I no longer spend on buses fairs, I can treat myself to cup of coffee on the way in to work.

Walking to work was only a small change to my daily routine but it has had a big and positive impact on my wellbeing.


I started cycling in 2006 when the local bus company increased their fares considerably.  I was working in the evenings stacking shelves at a DIY store three miles away and wouldn’t have felt safe walking that distance in the darker months.  A friend gave me an old bike they didn’t use and suddenly I could get to work safely, and was saving money too.  I have been cycling to work ever since, although I will occasionally take the bus home in the darker months when the weather is bad.

Was this page helpful?

Is all the information correct?

Improve your wellbeing

If you’re experiencing low mood, anxiety, or stress in your life, looking into self-help activities and ideas might be the right option for you.