I have recently started cycling to work.
It’s something I’ve been eager to do ever since I moved within realistic cycling distance, which is a little over two years ago. The main reason I’ve put it off so long is just that I was unwilling to shell out a couple of hundred quid for a bike and all the requisite equipment (and I didn’t really even know how to go about it) but after a generous gift from my partner I have finally been convinced to make it happen. I tried walking to work a few times earlier in the year and it’s manageable but it takes an hour which is too bloody long for me. The bike cuts that in half which is much more manageable and comparable to the time it takes to drive in.
I’ve been struggling a little with the road/pavement dilemma, but I think I’m close to working out a compromise. I don’t really feel all that safe cycling on the road but the surface is so much nicer, and I also don’t really think that it’s fair to pedestrians to cycle on the pavement. So now, since buying a helmet, I cycle on the smaller roads and take the pavement when the roads are big and scary. I think that’s about fair.
Here are the pros and cons of cycling I have discovered so far:
- It’s good for the environment
- It’s good for my health
- It will probably save me money in the long run. No way am I going to get rid of my car completely, but the money I save in petrol just by leaving the car at home three days a week will (presumably) add up eventually to pay me back for the bike
- I never have to worry about a parking space
- My combined journey to work and back is actually quicker than driving, since I don’t have to wait in traffic any more
- The initial outlay was quite a lot of money (for me), having spent around £150 on the bike and another £150 or so on accessories/safety equipment
- I don’t exactly feel safe on the bike, particularly on the road
- I have to worry about the bike getting stolen
- Cycling is difficult when the weather gets too extreme in any direction (hot/cold/wet)
- Sometimes my knees hurt, which is presumably from cycling since they weren’t hurting before
- If I want to do anything outside of my normal routine (go shopping, carry any sort of package, go out of my way on an errand) I can’t really do that on the bike
- As with most things in life, I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’m probably making glaring mistakes and look like an idiot. But fuck it, I’m managing
As I say, I’m fortunate enough to have a car too and to be able to afford to maintain my parking permit in case I need to drive to work for some reason. In fact, due to various circumstances, I haven’t managed to cycle in more than three times in a single week so far. But I’m not going to worry about it.