Ride Your Way To Fluent English And A Greener City Ep 723

A vibrant, busy London street being transformed into a bike-friendly path. Listen and learn for smoother English speaking.

๐Ÿ“ Author: Hilary

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๐Ÿ’ฌ 3472 words โ–ช๏ธ โณ Reading Time 18 min

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English Listening Practice: Improve Your English & Health with Cycling

Explore how biking ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™‚๏ธ benefits cities & your language skills. ๐ŸŒฟ Listen on Spotify & YouTube. Pedal your way to fluency! #LearnWithUs

  • ๐Ÿ“š Learn Essential Vocabulary: Dive into key terms related to cycling, environmental issues, and urban travel.
  • ๐Ÿ’ฌ Boost Your Grammar & Conversation Skills: Master English grammar and conversation through engaging lessons.
  • ๐ŸŽ“ From Beginner to Advanced: Lessons tailored for all levels to ensure constant progress.
  • ๐Ÿšฒ Discover Cycling Culture: Explore cycling in London, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen.
  • ๐Ÿ›ก๏ธ Safety Tips & Health Benefits: Stay safe and get fit with our cycling insights.
  • ๐ŸŒ Fluency in Real-World Contexts: Achieve fluency by immersing yourself in relevant topics like electric vehicles and carbon neutrality.

โœ”Lesson transcript: https://adeptenglish.com/lessons/english-listening-practice-cycling-cities

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.
โญ John F. Kennedy

Ever wondered how swapping your car for a bike could transform your daily commute and the city around you? In our latest English lesson where we explore the global cycling boom, uncovering the health, environmental, and cultural shifts on two wheels.

Learn English vocabulary and British cultural insights that could change the way you think about urban travel. Curious? Let's pedal through this journey together.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.
โญ Albert Einstein

Get your daily dose of English and outdoor adventure! Start your journey towards fluency and fitness today! ๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿ“š #LearnEnglish

More About This Lesson

Welcome to a world where your daily commute does more than just get you from A to B. It boosts your health, saves you money, and helps our planet. Our latest English lesson dives into the cycling revolution, showing you how bikes are shaping cities and lives.

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.
โญ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  1. You learn vocabulary specific to cycling and the environment.
  2. You hear real-life examples of cycling's impact in cities.
  3. You improve listening skills through diverse topics.
  4. You see practical English usage in discussing global issues.
  5. You are encouraged to think critically about environmental solutions.
  6. You get exposed to British English pronunciation and phrases.
  7. You learn about cultural differences in transportation.
  8. You are motivated to participate by sharing your own experiences.
  9. You understand the importance of safety and infrastructure for cyclists.
  10. You discover the health and economic benefits of cycling.

Reasons to Engage

  1. Cycling enhances cognitive function, aiding in language learning.
  2. Reducing carbon and noise pollution makes cities healthier places to live.
  3. Biking fosters community connections, offering real-world English practice.

This lesson will not only broaden your English vocabulary but also deepen your understanding of global efforts toward sustainability. Cycling, as a practical and eco-friendly mode of transport, presents unique learning opportunities. We'll explore how cities like London and Amsterdam are leading the way, making it easier and safer for everyone to bike.

The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.
โญ John Howard

Let's Get Started: Join us on Adept English, where learning meets real-life application. Subscribe to unlock a greener, healthier lifestyle while mastering the English language. Learn, listen, and pedal your way to fluency with us!

Questions You Might Have...

Learning English with us is like cycling to work; it's a journey that boosts your fluency while making your mind healthier and more eco-friendly.

  1. How can cycling help me improve my English fluency? Cycling through English-speaking environments immerses you in the language and culture, offering real-life contexts to practice listening and understanding. This exposure enhances vocabulary and comprehension skills, crucial for fluency.
  2. What are the benefits of cycling for commuters? Cycling offers a healthy, eco-friendly commute option. It reduces carbon footprint, improves physical fitness, and can be more enjoyable and cost-effective than driving or public transport, especially in congested cities.
  3. How has London adapted to the increase in cyclists? London has seen a 20% increase in cycling, supported by the expansion of bike lanes and reduced car traffic. These changes make cycling safer and more accessible, encouraging more people to choose bikes over cars.
  4. What challenges do cyclists face in urban areas? Safety remains a primary concern due to busy roads and mixing with larger vehicles. Infrastructure improvements, like dedicated cycle lanes, are crucial for addressing these risks and promoting cycling as a viable transport mode.
  5. Can cycling contribute to environmental goals? Absolutely. Cycling is a zero-emission mode of transport that can play a significant role in achieving carbon neutrality. It reduces reliance on fossil fuels, decreases pollution, and contributes to cleaner, healthier cities.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Boom: A sudden increase in something, like more people riding bikes.
  • Cycle lanes: Special paths on roads for people riding bikes.
  • Infrastructure: The basic systems and services, such as roads and electricity, needed for a country or organization to run smoothly.
  • Carbon neutral: Not causing any increase in the total amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • Congestion charge: Money you have to pay to drive into certain parts of a city to reduce traffic.
  • Quadrupled: Increased by four times.
  • Cycle helmet hair: Messy hair caused by wearing a helmet for biking.
  • Puff and pant: To breathe fast and heavily because of physical effort.
  • Pedestrians: People walking, especially in an area where vehicles go.
  • Pavement: The hard surface on the side of a road where people walk, known as a side-walk in some countries.

Most Frequently Used Words:


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Transcript: Ride Your Way To Fluent English And A Greener City

Cycling Cities: From London to Amsterdam

Hi there. Why am I wearing this? Well, today let's talk about how cities around the world are transforming their streets to accommodate greater numbers of cyclists, people on bikes. The hope is that this makes it a safer and more enjoyable way to travel. Just imagine if your daily journey to work could help improve your health, reduce your carbon footprint, and either bring you closer to nature so that you can hear the birds singing or help you take in the vibrant culture of a big city.

So today I'm talking about the boom in cycling. Apparently in London, bike use is up by 20% in the last few years. And new cycle lanes, that's roads and pathways built specifically for bicycles, are a big part of this. Another European city that I love to visit, Amsterdam.I like Amsterdam, I love its atmosphere. But what's really noticeable to someone like me from the UK when I visit Amsterdam, the huge numbers of cyclists. My memories of Amsterdam include nearly being run over by cyclists on several occasions. British people forget to look for cyclists when crossing the road because we're just not used to seeing that many.


A vibrant street in Copenhagen brimming with cyclists, showcasing the city's high cycling rate. Learn key terms about cycling and environment.

ยฉ๏ธ Adept English 2024

And I'm sure the Amsterdam cyclists curse British tourists like me for those near misses. But today let's look at cycling and at whether it might be the solution to some of our environmental problems. There's some great vocabulary in this podcast for English language learners. And if you listen right to the end of the podcast, I'll talk about a brilliant idea that might make cycling safe, popular, and accessible everywhere, not just in the big cities and at no extra cost.

Hello, Iโ€™m Hilary, and youโ€™re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

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So vocabulary first of all, the words cycle, bicycle, and bike all mean the same thing, that two-wheeled vehicle that most of us learn to ride as children.

Continued reliance on fossil fuels

And the verbs for this topic are similar. We probably wouldn't talk about bicycling, but we would talk about cycling or biking. So that's the verb to bike, B I K E. Both forms are used. And you'll have heard me talk in previous podcasts about the move towards electric vehicles or EVs. This is most Western governments' response to the requirement to go carbon neutral. I've talked in previous podcasts also about how the current design of electric vehicles isn't going to serve people's needs. And neither is there infrastructure to supply the electricity and the charging points that we need.Infrastructure, I N F R A S T R U C T U R E. That means services, things like electricity and roads. With imposed deadlines in the next few years, it's really difficult to see how we're going to arrive at net zero. And there are other issues.

We're going to struggle to get away from the use of plastic, P L A S T I C. It's a big by-product of the petrochemical industry, but it's one that we absolutely rely on. Medical supplies, household items, the interior of your car and food packaging. What would we do without plastic? So we're still reliant on fossil fuels for many things.

The gentle hum of bicycles - the number of journeys quadruples

But imagine a future where our streets are filled with the gentle hum of bicycles instead of cars, much cleaner air, for one thing. If more and more of us are going to be living in cities much closer together, cycling could be the solution to our transport problems. Could more of our journeys be done by bike? Once you've bought a bike, it's very cheap to run. There's no fuel needed, except for the effort you put in, the calories that you burn cycling. As long as the air is relatively clean, cycling is good for your health and your level of fitness. So back to those statistics.

Cycling in London is up by 20% since 2019. And it's estimated that 1.26 million journeys are made by bike every day in London. 1.26 million! That's a lot! And apparently the number of trips by car, journeys by car, has fallen drastically in the same period. And in fact, the number of journeys by bike has quadrupled. That means it's gone up, it's increased by four times. The reasons for the popularity of cycling are easy to see. You've the choice to drive, but in London, that just means sitting in traffic for long periods of time, very frustrating.

Killing several birds with one stone

The roads in London are extremely congested and increasingly restricted. There's the congestion charge to pay, and fewer and fewer of London's roads are available to cars. Getting anywhere in London by car is unsatisfactory. I do drive in London sometimes when I go to visit my daughter, but it's not a pleasant experience and I do try to avoid it and go on the tube instead. And public transport, the London Underground, for instance, the tube that I just mentioned, that is still the most efficient way to travel around London, but there are strikes and problems with certain tube lines. So it's understandable that people prefer to be above ground, getting their exercise on their way to work. If you have a busy London life, then getting your exercise in at the same time as your commute to work, well, that just makes sense. You're 'killing two birds with one stone'. That just means you're 'solving two problems with one action'. Here, the need to commute to work and the need to get your daily exercise.

Amsterdam and Copenhagen lead the way

So while the number of journeys by bike in London is rising, they still only represent 5% of journeys made each day. Compare that with the Danish capital, Copenhagen, where that figure is closer to 49%.Half of journeys are made by bike. And another way of measuring the popularity of something like cycling - how many bike trips are made per person per day as an average? Despite the increase I'm describing, the number of bike trips per person per day in London is still only 0.14. Compare that to Amsterdam, the location of my near misses with people on bikes. Well, in Amsterdam, the number of bike trips per person per day is 0.9. That's really high, isn't it? It means that on average, nearly every single person in Amsterdam makes a one bike trip per day.

Problems with cycling

Well, the obvious ones - it's much more practical where the land is relatively flat. If you live in a place with steep hills, cycling is only practical if you're very fit. Or maybe the other way to look at it, the population of such a place could become a fit by being made to cycle more. People aren't going to like that though, are they?

And cycling to work is fine if you have somewhere to shower and get changed. People who must dress smart for their work may have more of a problem with cycling. 'Cycle helmet hair' is a problem, I can tell you! But more seriously, the number one problem with cycling is of course safety.

That's S A F E T Y. The increase in cycling in London has only come alongside a big increase in the number of cycle lanes available. Cycle lanes or cycle paths are pathways specifically for bikes. London's roads are simply too busy for it to be safe cycling. It's dangerous for cyclists to mix with ordinary traffic. And even if you eventually ban most of the cars, taxis, buses, and vans delivering goods to shops are still going to be necessary. These vehicles pose a threat to the safety of cyclists of course. So continuing to build cycle lanes, cycle paths is essential if we want to see cycling in London as part of the solution to some of our environmental problems and our transport problems.

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Cycling in the provinces

Outside big cities like London, how practical is cycling as a mode of transport? Well, there are certain local journeys that I could make by bike if I needed to. And it would probably increase my level of fitness. However, the town I live in has hills, it's not flat. There's one particular one on the road back up to my house that's very steep. It makes me puff and pant. That means I get very out of breath when I'm cycling up there. So a greater level of fitness is required where there are hills and that might be an obstacle.

There's also a lack of cycle lanes outside of the capital. There are some, but they're not consistent. And most of the time, cyclists are expected to ride on the roads alongside the traffic. There just isn't the money to build cycle lanes everywhere.

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Safety is the number one problem with cycling

So people are naturally concerned about safety. And indeed, my son is just 15 years old. And only at Christmas, one of his friends had a serious accident when he was knocked off his bike by a car. He had to be hospitalised. Fortunately, the friend is better now, but he was very lucky not to be more seriously injured. Cycling on roads carries a big risk. One obvious solution to the lack of cycle lanes outside of the big cities, cycling on the pavement. That's 'pavement', P A V E M E N T.

That's the pathway at the side of the road intended for people on foot, or 'pedestrians' as we call them. P E D E S T R I A N S, 'pedestrians'. Currently the situation in the UK, at worst, it would be a ยฃ30 fine on the spot. But actually, most of the time, the police 'turn a blind eye' to cycling on the pavement, meaning 'they ignore it'.

Should cyclists use pavements?

The pavements around where I live are generally empty. There are hardly any pedestrians. If necessary to make this safer, you could increase the fines for dangerous cycling and make it a rule that cyclists on the pavement give way to pedestrians. And cyclists would be responsible for judging whether or not it's safe to ride on the pavement.

Clearly there are situations where it isn't. Outside of the big cities in normal towns and villages, there simply isn't the money to build cycle lanes everywhere. But there are already pavements everywhere. Relaxing the rules to allow cyclists outside of the capital to cycle on the pavement could be a solution without endangering pedestrians or people on foot. And it would make a massive difference. I think that could work. What do you think? Do you cycle to work?


Do you enjoy cycling? Or is it something that you would never do? Let us know. Enough for now.

Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com




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