Too easy to miss

While Karl’s post Things You Don’t See When You Drive is rather more spectacular than anything I can offer, today did give a good example of another benefit to cycling.

There are many things that are too easy to miss. Today I needed some A3 printing and set out for Leicester where I knew there were a number of options. But as I was cycling I was not on the Thurmaston bypass and so I noticed what I have cycled past many times but not registered, namely Thurmaston Print Shop. So I saved a total of 10 miles and supported a small local business while saving money (the extra travel cost is more than any slightly higher price).

One of the many problems of a car culture is that we miss (as in don’t see) the local options for shopping, leisure and even for work.

This is not just inconvenient and time wasting for us but it also destroys the communities in which we live. Thurmaston is a better place for having small local businesses that employ people and provide services for the whole community.

If you live in Syston you would never drive through Thurmaston, there is a dual carriageway bypass and the road through Thurmaston has lots of speed humps. So if you drive then you will miss out.

If you drive then what are you missing in your local community?


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  1. Thanks for the compliment!

    What you’ve mentioned here is a fundamental flaw with our car-addicted society, and it’s what makes us penny rich & pound foolish. We’ll drive a round trip of 10-15 miles at a cost of £4-£8 to save pennies. And in so doing, we’ll put money into big businesses who care little for our local economy and community, starving local business of custom. We’ll then of course moan that our local high street has become a ghost town that’s little more than empty units and charity shops.

    Put it this way – a local shop needs a turnover of around £40-50K per member of staff they employ, while the likes of Tesco, ASDA, Morrisons, etc need £120-150K (see This stems from the fact that they’re that much more efficient when it comes to use of labour, AND that their prices & margins may be a little keener. But what this means in real terms is that for every job a supermarket “creates” when it opens, three others will be lost from local firms. Firms where the people you deal with will know your name, remember your preferences, and worry about you when you don’t pop in on whatever your usual day is.

    If we are a nation of shopkeepers, then what finer example of the Big Society can there be than to turn our backs on driving to out of town warehouses for big corporations’ inventories, and instead look at what’s on our doorsteps.

    Rant over.

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