Why do I continue to do it?



Ok, so I’m not quite in the league of the British rider Tom Simpson (pictured above) who basically rode himself to death with a mixture of drugs, drink, and exhaustion, but I do carry on riding when most other people might have stopped. Tulip cyclists (those that only come out in the spring), fair-weather cyclists, part-timers, weekend warriors, 3 mile commuters, they all have their place on the road. But what is it about some of us that we can’t keep off the bike, even when we really, really should? Last year during the snow and ice I only gave up riding one day when I watched a double decker bus slide down a hill totally out of control and smash into the safety barriers at the side of the road. Even to me that seemed a little dangerous…

But seriously, why do I do it? I mainly use my bike to get to and from work these days, but that adds up to somewhere between 150-200 miles every week. Usually about 30 miles each day, 6 days of the week, often 7. That’s a lot of abuse to put a body through. But when I even consider the other options, I can almost never find reasons to actually take advantage of them. I have, in the past, used public transport on a regular basis for work, and my conclusions are: expensive, overcrowded, unreliable, often slow, and with restricted hours of use. I have, of course, had plenty of good journeys and used to enjoy them as time to catch up with a good book, but when it goes wrong… well, there just aren’t any options available to you if you’re stuck in a tunnel underground. And the work I do, three, four or more venues in a day, doesn’t lend itself to public transport. I actually don’t think I could practically do it.

And as for driving in London…! When I do it makes me wonder why people think I’m mad cycling so much. How is wasting your life going nowhere fast in a car better than getting a bit wet and being home in 30 minutes at no cost except a quick stretch, a massive dinner and a hot bath? I think people are just culturally and socially conditioned into thinking the car is king because so few people have experienced anything else. My family never had a car, and I only learnt to drive after I had turned thirty. All that time without a car definitely made a difference to my outlook, simply because for most of my life the car just wasn’t an option. But still we survived! And the better for it if you ask me. I am glad that my parents weren’t just a taxi service. If I needed to get somewhere then it was down to me, and what’s easiest, cheapest and fastest option to a teenager? Yep, the humble old bicycle. Now get on out and ride!


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