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.
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.
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,