My First: City Cycling Experience

About a month ago I bought my gorgeous new bike, and in doing so became a London Cyclist. This is never a title I wanted if I’m being completely honest; cycling in London always seemed far too dangerous, stressful and frankly life-endangering for me.

But nonetheless, once I’d bought the bike, I thought why not. It seemed a bit silly to be spending somewhere in the range of £150 per month on public transport when I could just hop on my bike instead. And so the bike-commuting began.

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It is freezing though

As a caveat; I don’t have a typical 9 to 5, meaning my bike commuting has been limited to running club sessions and social events. Nonetheless it has been exhilirating and terrifying in equal measure. Some of the highlights:

  • I tried to cycle to the Olympic Village to go swimming, and Google Maps tried to send me down a freakin’ horrific high-speed tunnel. I said nope nope nope, turned around and went home.
  • I tried cycling (just the once) with something over my handlebars. I knew it was a bad idea, even when I started. But then my knee got caught on the aforementioned item and I almost went flying. Thank God it wasn’t rush hour!
  • I hit the Elephant and Castle roundabout in rush hour. Not only is it absolute chaos at the best of times, but there are currently a shit ton of roadworks going on. I am so lucky to have made it out alive!
  • I cycle home from Tuesday runs which is always such an epic struggle. Pace run + cycling = DOMS. All the DOMS.

 

cycle_visibility_for_roadshows

What I wish I’d known:

  • You can never have enough high-viz gear. Be safe, be seen gets taken to a whole other level when you’re on a bike.
  • Cars, buses and taxis will almost never give you right of way. Never assume they’re letting you through!
  • Cycling counts as exercise, which means you’re going to be a bit more knackered than usual. I keep forgetting this, and wondering why I wake up with quads that feel like jelly the next morning.
  • Buy cycle shorts! Stating the obvious here, but ouch otherwise.
  • You need quads to cycle… I’m still working on that one!

What are your top tips for a city cyclist? What did I miss?

Lots of love,

Pippa

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11 thoughts on “My First: City Cycling Experience

  1. When I was in Hamburg, I commuted ten miles both ways to school every day. It was great, especially to avoid the stuffy air in the public transport.
    I definitely always wore a helmet, even if it was dorky. I also made sure to have some food at the Uni before heading home because otherwise it ended up being the worst ride ever, every time. Good for you and your new bike! But stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Many years ago I used to commute in London, it was, as you say, hairy but exhilarating. Can’t believe I didn’t wear a helmet back then (it was in the 80s when they weren’t common). At least I did wear hi-viz. In the last couple of years I’ve bought a bike for recreation/fitness, but not using it that much, need to enter a triathlon to give myself a reason to train and get out early at the weekends.

    Hope you find some nicer routes to ride and stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow -no cycling in London is way too scary for me – actually cycling anywhere where there are other people – whether driving, cycling or walking is too scary. I gre up in Germany though in an area where cycling wasn’t exercise it was transport – it’s just what you did to get from A to B but that only works in areas where it is relatively flat and there are good cycle lanes or quiet roads. I’m in awe of you doing the bike thing in the city!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Funny you mention needing quads to cycle. When I was starting to get in shape I attended a spin class twice a week with a friend. One of the instructor’s was this bad ass cycle chick with her hair pulled back in a very long, very tight braid that would knock you down if she turned her head fast enough. One day I noticed her get off her bike and saw her quads, no shit, looked like loaves of bread. Talk about intimidated!

    Like

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