There aren't many things I like about being back in the UK to be honest but cycling to work is one of them. I bought my bike 'Matilda' on eBay for £9.99 and fell in love with her immediately. She is a Raleigh and was tucked away in a garage somewhere enjoying her retirement when I plucked her out and spruced her up with a set of bike lights and a lock. We haven't looked back since!
I live in the centre of busy city in an apartment block with bike storage that is about 1 mile away from my work – all on cycle paths. It takes me 15 mins from door to desk which includes a stop off in the loos at work to tidy my hair and remove my waterproofs. I can come home for lunch which is a luxury I've never known in my working life until now.
To summarise why I love Matilda:
- I arrive at work/home refreshed rather than drained
- She costs nothing to run & has next to no impact on the environment
- I get some 'free' exercise
I used to drive to work and back. In the winter with the dark evenings, I would arrive home with very tired eyes, generally annoyed and frustrated with all the other cars that were in my way. If someone had parked in my allocated parking spot they'd better be ready for a fight! But riding to work and back is a pleasure, I feel the office being blown away from my face and I leave the stress at the office door. No petrol costs, no parking costs and because I service her myself, next to no running costs at all. The 'free' exercise I mentioned above is because I feel it's not a planned exercise 'session' and therefore is free!
Here's my advice for aspiring commuters:
- Buy some cycle clips
- Buy some waterproof clothing – invest in some waterproof gloves
- Buy a wooly hat that covers your ears for the cold and a cap to protect your hair in the sun
- Don't leave your lights in your bag and forget to put them on
- People on mobile phones may go off in any direction without notice
- Watch out for dogs on stretchy leads
- Use lip balm & moisturiser
- Snot can be a problem – so learn how to snot rocket without getting it on your clothes!