Last week I decided to take the route of bravery and cycle to work. I know it’s no biggie, but for me it is. I don’t drive (yet) so being on a pair of wheels in the road with big scary lorries flying past is very new to me. I’m proud that I managed to cycle over 12 miles a day to and from work without falling off or making too much of a fool of myself…although at one point I did almost fall off in the middle of a busy road. I’m surprised no one decided to knock me down purposely considering I was wearing a badass leather jacket whilst riding on a cute pink bike, which most people describe as hideous. In the words of Taylor Swift, ‘haters gonna hate’. I didn’t think twice about the pink bike and leather jacket combo until it was pointed out and then I realised it was perhaps a tad ironic and funny. And now I am slightly embarrassed.
But I refuse to let myself be ashamed about riding on a girly bike. After all I am a girl; a typical girly-girl who loves anything pink and shiny. If I was a bike I would be this bike.
All jokes aside, there are plenty of advantages in comparison to disadvantages to cycling, and I’m glad I have finally got into it. I’ll start off by writing about the cons first because I like my posts having a happy ending.
Cons of cycling to work:
- Depending on where you live and what the roads are like, it can be quite terrifying. Roundabouts and small country lanes are my least favourite.
- It’s hard work. Hills are a nightmare. Don’t do it unless you don’t mind sporting helmet hair and a look of exhaustion when you walk into your workplace.
- Drivers probably hate you and call you horrible names in the 0.2 seconds they can’t cruise past you. Fortunately I don’t give a monkeys what people think.
Pros of cycling to work:
- It’s exercise! I don’t have an awful lot of time to work out anymore so cycling for over an hour a day will hopefully keep me in good shape, even if I do order takeaway at least three times a week…
- In my opinion, it beats sitting on a noisy, busy, and overpriced train full of college students bragging about how much weed they smoked over the weekend (that’s not even the worst I hear).
- It’s better for the environment. And that makes me feel good.
- It’s nice to cycle to the local park on the weekend when you have a spare few hours. I’m thankful I live a five minute drive away from Great Windsor Park and Virginia Water Lake which has some pleasant cycling routes. Great hangover cure.
- It’s fun!
I would say the pros outweigh the cons. The biggest worry I have is that I’m going to get knocked off and go flying into a ditch but the way I see it is I could die doing just about anything anyway. I wear a helmet (which I look ridiculous in) and I have some cool flashing lights so I can ‘be safe, be seen’…for anyone who remembers lessons we were taught in little school.
Here are some tips for anyone who wants to start cycling but hasn’t quite had the courage yet:
- Helmet. I know it’s obvious but I see way too many people riding about with no head protection. Even if you’re only riding around the park it’s just safer to wear one.
- And lights! Must have lights. The more safety the more confident you will feel.
- Get a cycling buddy. I am thankful that all my housemates cycle so I had someone come with me the first time I learnt the route to work. It made me feel much better.
- Don’t panic! When I first cycled in a main road I was worrying and I was going a bit ‘wibbly-wobbly’ on my bike and this is why I almost fell off. Drivers will either go round you or wait, not knock you down like you’re an opponent in Mario Kart. Unless they’re assholes and don’t mind jail time.
- Take a bottle of water because you will get super hot and thirsty, even on a chilly Autumn morning.
- Have your phone for navigation, or if you’re old fashioned, a printed out map of your chosen route. Just in case you’re a bit silly like me and get lost.