Almost two weeks in to the Beat the Street game and we thought we’d give you our top ten tips maximise your points (especially if you’re signed up to the Cycling Dumfries team – we need to keep our place on the leaderboard!) but also the benefits to you …
1. Get on your bike
Sure, you can walk around the beat boxes easily enough – but to cover more than a handful of them in a go, a bike is the thing. It’s the quickest way around town when the traffic is bad anyway, and with lots of the beat boxes on the cycle paths, it almost feels like cheating to whiz between them on a bike! If you’re not comfortable riding in traffic, then try the Maxwelltown path – there are beat boxes at either end, and one half way along, as well as one just at the Cuckoo Bridge exit. The Caledonian path also has a few points you can easily pick up without getting out of your comfort zone.
2. Go in a gang
The kids have worked this one out already – it’s more fun to play with friends, as we found last week. And it also makes riding on the roads feel a bit safer – you’re more visible as a group, and if you’re not that used to riding in traffic, then following the lead of a more experienced pal can be a great way to gain skills and confidence, as well as learn sneaky routes which avoid the worst roads
3. Find new places
Sure you could maximise your points by finding the two beat boxes which are closest together and riding back and forthe between them – but where’s the fun in that? Get the map out and look for some new places or work out new routes to old places – even if you’ve lived in Dumfries all your life you might well discover somewhere new.
4. Find new routes
There are some strange omissions in the beat box network, in our opinion – really not a single one on the Whitesands? – but that just means planning new routes around town that maximise point opportunities instead of sticking to the beaten path. You may even discover new routes which turn out to be better than your old ones.
5. Build it into your everyday life
You might not have time to get out cycling just to play a game – but if you can switch to riding your bike for trips you’ve got to make anyway, then you can multi-task. Have a look at the map and see if there are opportunities to walk or cycle some of those journeys, and you may actually find you’re saving yourself time (you’ll definitely be saving yourself money). If the roads look too scary, then maybe we can help with route planning – there are many unsigned cycle paths that you might not even have noticed that could take you off the worst roads.
6. Make it the nudge you needed
It’s fairly common for people to think about cycling to work, or school or college for ages, but not to actually take the plunge until something finally tips the balance – and then when they do, they can’t believe it took them so long. If that’s you, why not use Beat the Street as the trigger for giving it a go? And again, we’re happy to help with routes if that’s what is holding you back.
7. Park and ride (or stride)
If you don’t live close enough to town to cycle in, or the roads are too hostile (think Collin, Torthorwald, Lochmaben…) you can still join in the fun AND save yourself some time by parking towards the edge of town and walking or cycling the last bit of the journey. There’s free all-day parking at places like Dock Park and Lochthorn Library, with plenty of opportunities to pick up points as you walk or cycle the final couple of miles. You’ll miss the worst of the traffic in town and have a great start to the day made all the sweeter as you pass everyone else stuck in a jam.
8. Challenge yourself
Already riding a bike or walking a fair bit? You can always benefit from stretching yourself that bit more and taking your fitness up to a new level. We’ve heard on our Facebook page that people have done all the beat boxes in one session (a 26 mile circuit), and others are running round the boxes. Even if that sounds a bit energetic, once you get the tapping habit, there’s always one more box within easy reach, and the next thing you know you’ve gone much further than you might have thought possible. If you log into the Beat the Streets page it tells you how many miles you have done – you might just surprise yourself.
9. Get into the habit
Challenges aside, the real benefits come when you start to make it a habit – and don’t let it stop once the game is over. Yes, you’ll no longer have the fun of seeing the points mount up or your team climbing the leaderboard – but you’ll still be out in the fresh air and getting some exercise, and that brings loads of benefits from improved health to saving money, better mood and weight loss (or at least being able to have that extra treat without feeling bad about it).
10. Get a free breakfast
Speaking of extra treats … don’t forget that on Friday 22nd of September we’re having our Big Bike Breakfast, and if you show up on a bike you get a free bacon roll (or vegetarian equivalent). It’s also a chance to meet councillors and council officials and let them know about all the changes you’d like to see having spent more time out and about on Dumfries’s streets and cycle paths. There’s a beat box right there at English Street so you’ll also get some extra points right there. And did we mention it was free?