Active Travel comes in all different shapes in sizes

6th March 2023

By definition of the UK government, active travel means making journeys by physically active means.

But it doesn’t have to be limited to walking or cycling, there are many ways you can take part and it doesn’t have to be ‘just making a journey’; it can be fun, whilst benefiting you both mentality and physically.

So, let’s take a look…

A lot of attention is put on cycling as a key player in active travel, and we’re all for it, but what if you don’t like cycling, you’re not the best at it or you’re not confident enough?

Don’t let that stop you from taking part, here are some great alternatives.


Something that has caused controversy in the active travel world is the E-scooter. Illegal for personal use on public highways, these scooters are only available to hire from official hiring companies, such as Beryl or Voi. Those that are against e-scooters, are perhaps against the few irresponsible riders that ignore the laws surrounding the scooters; such as no riding on pavements or up one-way streets. However, in Norwich alone, there are some fantastic stats to pull out from trials so far:

  • Two million kilometres travelled since March 2020 (2 years) – which is equivalent of 50 journeys around the world.
  • Over a quarter of overall journeys made in Norwich have been replaced by Beryl.
  • 76 tonnes of carbon emissions have been saved – equivalent of around 5,073,071 boiled kettles.

Pretty good!

There is also the other type of scooter, perhaps forgotten about slightly, the one that doesn’t do it all for you… The traditional kick scooter.

They’re making a big comeback, and it’s not just children riding them either. People like Hugh Jackman, Kate Hudson and TikTok superstar Francois Bourgeois are all strong advocates for scooting.

It’s easy to see why they’re trending, its cheap, fun and doesn’t require a whole lot of skill. They are small and can fold up which makes it super portable; making it easy to take it on public transport and inside buildings.

You can also ride a kick scooter on the pavement as these scooters are not motorised, they are slower, and it would be dangerous to share the space on the road with motorised vehicles. So therefore, this mode of transport may suit those that do not feel confident enough to ride a bicycle and ride it on the road.

Recumbent bike

Still technically a bicycle but not one you’re used to seeing. Recumbent bikes can come in several forms – trike, long wheelbase, and short wheelbase, and when you see one, your first thought isn’t bicycle, more Red Bull Soap Box Race.

Designed for ergonomics, the recumbent bicycle has been directly aimed for comfort and health reasons over the traditional bicycle. They have also have arm powered bikes that have been used as a great way for those with disabilities to remain or get back into cycling. The bike sits at a reclined position with a backrest and no handlebars on most models.

Avoiding the normal upright seated position takes the stress away from your back, glutes, and arms. Especially on the longer rides, this spreads your body weight instead of the stress directly through the top and centre of your body.

Designed for comfort but also for speed, though it may seem strange, they’re actually faster than normal bikes – once you get the hang of it of course.

Due to the seating position, there is less drag, which means cutting through the air with less resistance therefore coming out on top. This is where they get further away from your typical bicycle and closer to a soap box.

Kind of cool though, right?

So, faster than a regular bike, comfier, better for you and has the capability of bringing home gold in the Red Bull Soap Box Race… what’s stopping you?!

Tandem bike

Never properly taken seriously as a means for commuting, but why not?! Two birds with one stone I say…

Jokes aside, should this be considered a more viable mode of transport? Two seats, three seats or even four seats, could it replace your car on the school run?

Roller Skates

If disco music can make a comeback, so can roller skates.

Much like the scooter, they’re portable, you can skip between public transport such as buses and trains with ease and cruise past regular pedestrians. With some spare shoes in your backpack, the transition to regular footwear is swift with no stress. Along with speeding up your regular commute, it also makes it a little more entertaining. You’ll be able to experience the place you live in, and get a real dopamine kick after the journey, which is going to benefit you both mentally and physically. As after all, this is exercise. Roller skating uses 80% of your body’s muscles and gives you a great cardio workout while burning up to 650 calories an hour.

So, could you blow the cobwebs off your skates and bring the 80’s back?

These active travel methods may not be for everybody, and we appreciate they may have their flaws, but the message is, that active travel doesn’t have to be restricted to just walking and cycling. Dust off your roller skates, try a recumbent bike, scoot to work, the moral is that they’re all going to have positive effects on your day-to-day life. The first step is starting, and the hard part will be stopping!