I was recently given a bike by my parents for my birthday. I know that this makes me sound like I'm about 12, but hey ho, they knew that I'd been wanting one for a while and I hadn't got around to buying one. I'm actually really pleased with it.
By most standards, I probably live in one of the best places in the country for cycling (unless you're really into mountain biking or BMX or something else). I live within about a 2 minute ride of a route on the national cycle network and about 5 minutes from the national canal network, which from Bournville, not only goes to university (where I work), but also beyond to the city centre and ultimately the rest of the country.
The ride into university takes about 15 to 20 minutes, which is basically how long it had been taking me by train, given that I usually end up waiting about 5 minutes or so for one.
Now the decision of whether to ride or go by train now seems to me to be an easy decision. As an example of mechanism design, this is how I see it: Each day I get paid Â£1.80 (the train fare) to exercise for half an hour. It takes up no more time out of my day, and there's none of the expense (and in my opinion boredom) associated with going to a gym.
So, the picture above shows my new route to work. And, as if the benefits already were not enough, instead of being advertised at by the omnipresent telescreens on the train, I instead get to enjoy the drifting smell of chocolate being made at the Cadbury factory, and to watch the ducks and geese flapping and hissing at me as I ride past.
Now I'm just waiting for my first rainy day...