A GLOUCESTERSHIRE councillor has lost five stone since December when he decided to take up cycling as his main form of transport.

Stroud district councillor Robin Layfield, 52, has only used his car 40 times in the last eight months.

He used to cycle a lot when he was younger but over the years he had developed quite a sedentary lifestyle.

But now he has rediscovered the benefits of cycling and wants to normalise it for other people.

The Community Independents councillor says cycling is a form of transport that anyone can take up. It is a healthy way to get around, has little impact on the environment and can save money.

“I cycled a lot when I was younger, particularly when I was at university. I wasn’t a hardcore cyclist but I would cycle 12 miles to work. That was when I was reasonably fit and a lot younger,” said Robin.

“But I haven’t cycled much since the mid 2000s. I had different priorities. I have a sedentary job, I sit behind a desk, I’m a freelance web developer and to be honest, I’ve just needed the car when going to council meetings.”

However, his Rodborough parish council colleague Alick Miskin encouraged him to take up cycling again.

“Alick is a very vocal cycling advocate and at every meeting he would ask me why don’t you cycle," said Robin.

So he decided to get back to cycling and lead by example.

As vice-chairman of Stroud District Council's environment committee he says he is very committed to environmental policies and exploring what SDC can do to make it easier for people to walk and cycle.

And is he now a passionate advocate of two-wheels not four.

“I was 21 stone in November. I now weigh 16 stone," he said.

“I only drive when absolutely necessary. It was hard to start with but but now I’m not bothered."

Robin bought an electric bike and alternates between his regular bike.

“I want to normalise cycling," he added.

"Cycling is the solution to a lot of but not all problems that we face in our rural communities.

“I accept that not everyone can give up a car but for many journeys cycling is entirely possible."