Cycling to work

For the last few years, I’ve lived about 4 and a half miles away from work. My preferred method of commuting has been to drive – it takes between ten and twenty minutes, depending upon conditions, but usually closer to ten.

Taking the train is also an option, and will involve a five minute train journey, and then a five minute walk at each end. However, I don’t usually do this, as the trains are infrequent, unreliable, and absurdly overpriced for such a short journey.

Cycling to work was ruled out. Firstly, the roads that I would have to ride on are a deathtrap, due to narrowness, abundance of hidden dips and the tendency of car drivers to break the speed limit. It’s just not a cyclist-friendly route in the slightest. Secondly, we do not have showers at work, so I would be sweaty and unclean before even sitting down at my desk. Normally, I don’t get that until at least 11am. And thirdly, it would increase the amount of time that I spend commuting.

Recently, there has been a surge of bicycle-related activity in our household. I’ve been wanting a bike for quite a while now, mainly for popping round to the chinese takeaway or the corner shop, but haven’t really done anything about it, as it was quite low on the priority list. However, a few weeks ago we decided to move Bernard to a new childminder, and dropping him off would go from being a 0.4 mile journey, four times per day (twice there, twice back) to a 1.2 mile journey, four times per day. This burden usually falls upon Karen, so getting her a bicycle became a high-priority task.

Once her bicycle was sorted out, we figured that it was a good time to get me sorted out too ((I do, technically, have a bike already, but it’s been on long-term loan to my sister for the last ten years)), so that the three of us could go out on rides together and so forth. An excellent opportunity presented itself, and lo and behold, I had a bike. I haven’t been getting much (understatement of the week) exercise in the last year, and it was starting to worry me, so another bird may be squawking its last as its wee brain gets mashed to a pulp by a projectilious pebble.

And then I started re-evaluating the possibility of cycling to work. I looked at a map of cycle routes and figured out that I could actually avoid the worst of the roads whilst only increasing the length of the trip by about half a mile. I reconsidered the whole sweatiness-at-work thing too, and realised that the post-fatherhood version of me doesn’t really give much of a fuck anymore. And I also looked at the whole travelling-time thing, and realised that if I stop thinking of my commute as being a commute, and start thinking of it as being exercise, then I’m actually *reducing* the amount of time that I spend commuting to zero!

So this week, I started cycling to work. The first day was exhausting, and upon arriving home, I collapsed ((not in the medical sense. I didn’t actually pass out or anything)) on the sitting room floor, only to be berated for getting sweat on the carpet. However, things have improved over the course of the week, and it’s become a very enjoyable part of my day.

Yesterday I bought a cycle computer so that I’d be able to keep track of my performance. I’m going to keep a record of my average speed, and once it reaches a respectable figure, I’ll divulge all.

3 replies on “Cycling to work”

I do miss my cycling commute, but it would be tricky to get the bike up into the apartment for the 5m journey to my laptop. Carting it up and down the stairs would mean I get some exercise though, which would be useful…

I’m not sure if it’s a problem with your new manbag, but I found panniers were a very handy solution to the sweaty-back problem induced by my rucksack.

Finally, be careful of sudden massive acceleration and deceleration if your bike computer is wireless. I didn’t notice any deviation from my usual ~15mph at the time, but my bike computer would occasionally capture a ~120mph top speed during my commute!

My bike computer is not wireless. I can see how they would be useful for people with front suspension, but other than that it strikes me as an unnecessary frivolence.

I’m hoping that my average speed will increase sharply as my leg muscles get stronger. It’s the cycling uphill that’s really slowing me down at the moment.

Go Pete! Motivation is the hardest part, especially when it’s raining, but you’re saving money, and going to the gym (sort of) and not sitting in traffic jams / other people’s armpits, so it is all worth it.

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