While out on a ride a couple of weeks ago it dawned on me that I’d unwittingly chosen one of the most expensive sports to become involved in. You know how people say running is free… cos technically you don’t need much; with need being the operative word.
Well, I guess cycling is kinda the same when you’re commuting, using your bike for errands or enjoying active family days once you’ve made the initial outlay for the bike itself and a few key accessories like a helmet and lock.
On this same ride, I also realised how much of my surroundings I miss. I cycled past the Cathedral in St Albans and didn’t even notice as I was so focused on the incline heading past it.
I came across this infographic from Cycle Republic which details the results of a survey they conducted of 500 UK cyclists to gauge the nation’s perception of a bike ride and so I thought I’d share my own thoughts with you here on the blog.
Why I Ride
As a child, I rode because I enjoyed it and because it was a great way to stay active while spending time with friends. As an adult not much has changed; I still enjoy cycling and it’s a great form of low impact exercise. These days it can also serve as a way to meet like minded people when you attend organised group rides, join a club or just organise to hang out with people that you know ride too.
When I Took Up Cycling
I originally started cycling back as a child (I wrote about that in this post about my ride to Paris) but I didn’t own a bike for around 15 years. I bought my first bike as an adult back in 2013 in order to commute to work when I lived in London.
Gadgets I Depend On
I detailed a few things in my Summer Essential Kit for sportives so I’ll just write a quick list here of the things I never leave home without:
- Hiplok cafe lock
- GoPro Hero 5 (and handlebar / seatpost mount)
- Saddlebag (with spare inner tube and puncture repair kit)
- Clip-in shoes
- An awesome Lycra outfit!
Currently, I’m loving my Threo Shorts, Anna’s Legs capris and my Tour de France jersey.
I’ve got a few new pieces to test out before Paris including the Rapha Core Shorts, an Altura Jersey, Decathlon jacket and the Skins cycling set. I’ll be doing a full post on my chosen kit for Paris and rounding up my thoughts on the pieces I’ve been testing out so keep an eye out for that.
The Future Of Cycling And Safety
Personally I’d love to see more women involved in cycling. I’ve put my name down to train as a Breeze Champion in my area so that will be one of my first steps toward doing my bit.
As much as I’d love for the UK to be more like the Netherlands for cycling I realise that realistically it’s quite a way away, with attitudes to change and right now I guess we have bigger fish to try especially around safety.
I’ve never felt unsafe cycling but I am aware that people make stupid decisions sometimes so I stay alert and cautious. My number one rule for cycle commuting is to never be in a hurry in order to avoid me making any stupid decisions myself.
There are definitely more and more cycle paths being created but honestly, sometimes the state of them means that not using them is a better idea. And there are definitely rare times I would cycle on the pavement, one of them being that last stretch from the tube station to my house as the road is narrow and the cars are impatient.
As for pedestrians being accommodating… this does happen. But just a few weeks ago on a shared path along the canals, a man refused to move when we rang our bells. His wife informed him that we were behind to which responded “I’m walking on the path”. In my most polite tone, I said “it doesn’t harm to share the path” and I cycled past and carried on with my day. Some people just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and it’s best to just let them get on with it and not let it affect your day.
Bike Storage and Bike Theft
Apparently 29% of cyclists (38% in London) have experienced bike theft and sadly I’m one of them. I still hold out hope to this day that one day I’ll be reunited with my beloved specialized hybrid. Since then, I only have one rule and that’s if my bike can’t come in with me, I can’t come in.
So yes, I’ve taken my bike into Pizza Express just this weekend in St Albans (thanks guys!) and a ton of cafes when I’m out and about in London Town.
You won’t be surprised to know my bike lives in my flat; I’m lucky that my corridor was built extra wide… it’s like they knew I’d get a bike one day! …and I clean my bike in the bath… I saw it on Twitter…
Why do you ride?!