Adventures in cycling part 2

This is my bike and I'm a little bit in love with it.

I am feeling very proud of myself this week as I have finally taken the plunge and started cycling to work. I think it’s about a 12 mile round trip. As I was very nervous I had a little practice run at the weekend. Luckily my boyfriend was happy to come with me and show me the route (he’s very nice like that). I am a bit rubbish at remembering routes and the only way I seem to learn how to get somewhere is to do it. I’d really built myself up to it and in my head it was going to be an epic trek ┬ábut in reality it was fine and I got there and back without feeling too knackered. Yay!

My first day of cycling started ominously with heavy rain. I was determined not to wimp out so I dug out my all waterproof (which hasn’t seen the light of day for about 5 years) and got on my bike. Luckily for me I was leaving at the same time as my boyfriend (who works in the same place) so not only was I able to follow him to avoid getting lost but he also carried my stuff for me. I thought that the rain would be awful but actually it wasn’t too bad, knowing that I had a dry change of clothes and shoes took all the stress away.

On the way back I was on my own and I was very nervous. Could I take on the central London traffic? It turned out that I could! Well……sort of…. I walked across a good few frightening crossings, was a bit over cautious and went a bit slowly but the important thing is that I made it!

My second day was slightly more challenging. I needed to cycle there and back (and not get lost!) on my own. I also needed to take a pannier as my boyfriend wasn’t around to carrying it for me. Despite my worries the rain held off and I only got a little bit lost. My main concern about the panniers was that it would make it difficult to cycle but I was surprised to find that the biggest problem was worrying about the pannier getting nicked when I was at the lights!

I am far from being a proper cyclist commuter but I am learning. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far:

  • Cycling in glasses is a bad idea. As soon as it rains I can’t see. Contact lenses are the only option.
  • Taxis and motorbikes are very keen to kill you so they have more space in the bus lane.
  • If in doubt follow someone in lots of cycling gear they tend to know what they are doing.
  • You can’t have enough locks.
  • It is possible to cycle with a satchel handbag.
  • Cycle lanes are only put on very quiet roads and never on busy ones where they would actually be useful.
  • Pretending you are a car and hogging the whole lane at a junction (when cars won’t let you to the cycle bit at the front) means that you feel much safer
  • There is no shame in walking your bike across a massive scary junction. Even the pro cyclists do it sometimes.
  • Cycling makes you extra hungry.
I’m really enjoying my daily bike ride. It’s boosting my mood and my energy levels as well as allowing me to eat more cake!
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