You've heard me blog about some of the downsides of cycling, but I thought I would just give you non-bikers and reluctant riders a flavour of why I've taken to cycling to work every day, come rain or shine.
1. A time-efficient pursuit. Not only is it quicker than taking the train, it is also far more reliable. I can predict my arrival time at work within a minute or two each way, depending on how energetic I'm feeling that day.
2. Exercise while you travel. No need to spend any extra time in the gym or pool.
3. Saving money. About £5 a day at the last count, in train fares alone. That's without counting the savings on gym membership.
4. Being in touch with things. The weather, the city around me, my body and its daily twinges, my mind. Sometimes it can even be a meditative experience.
Some of the things that my friends and colleagues say to me are:
- isn't it dangerous?
If you take care, stay aware, make yourself visible and your intentions known to other road users and pedestrians you cannot go far wrong, even when you have to contend with bad drivers, careless cyclists and foolhardy pedestrians. It's dangerous in the same way as it's dangerous to step off the kerb without looking if anything is coming. Having no lights, wearing dark clothes, listening to your MP3 player and carrying shopping on your handlebars are all silly things to do and put you in danger. Remember that it's not a race and if you try to squeeze down the side of that bus which is negotiating the left-hand bend in front of you, you are likely to get crushed. Don't do it.
- do you cycle in the rain?
Yes, and it's a bummer if you wear glasses but not impossible. What's more you'll be surprised how rarely it rains at the exact time you need to travel. A good waterproof and windproof jacket is a necessary investment for the winter, if you live in the northern hemisphere.
- I bet it keeps you fit!
I'm fit but haven't lost as much weight as I would have expected (especially since London is quite flat). I think the problem lies in the eating side of things - and you will have seen the cake-related evidence to back this up on the blog!
Stoke Newington, London
20 hours ago