Ok so here are my thoughts after 3 months of cycling to and from work:
- I have the most muscly legs I’ve had since I played hockey at school, legs are today bare and I’m not cringing about it. My belly is still the same (is there such a thing as “cyclist’s belly”?).
- I have issues with bike locks. I have bought 4 in 3 months at £30 each, thus negating entirely the savings made from the tube. This is due to keys breaking from jiggling around in my basket or from keys being lost from falling out my basket. But I’m not stupid! After only 4 times, I now do not keep my lock and key in my basket.
- Cycling to areas I’ve never been in London is brilliant – I went from Soho to Southwark to Tower Bridge to Brixton the other day after work and saw a whole heap of buildings I’d never seen AND the sunset over the Thames.
- But I’m always lost – Notting Hill to Brixton took me via Buckingham Palace.
- But this is great, I’m getting to know London and how she interconnects.
- Finding yourself on a 4-lane motorway type thing with lorries zooming past you and not knowing which lane to be in will ALWAYS be scary. I find it best to shriek a little bit, wobble, and then keep going straight.
- I got the tube for the first time today in months and I must admit I was excited because I GOT TO READ THE METRO again but that was by far the best thing about the journey (a story about a pigeon with some bread on its head – hurrah!) which was otherwise hot, slow and squashed.
- I have had 3 mini cycle accidents and all 3 have been caused by me, you do actually need to concentrate a bit.
- There should be more bike racks in London, particularly outside shoe shops and restaurants. Hear that Boris?
- List of most annoying fellow road users: 1. White van men who don’t see you 2. Moped riders who cut you up 3. Cyclists who go through red lights (unless late for work in which case it is entirely acceptable*) 4. White van men who make comments about the length of your skirt 5. Bus drivers who don’t leave you enough space to get round.
So for anyone intrigued enough to start cycling, here’s a photographic guide to my journey (and note: taking photos while cycling is also not a good idea, I almost cycled into a taxi).
New Oxford Street to Covent Garden – I was going a leetle bit fast when I took this – you see that taxi in front? Well he sort of slowed down and I didn’t as much so I sort of cycled into the back of him, but only gently
St Martin’s Lane
I got through this gap
Trafalgar Square – always something good to listen to / see
Cycling past Big Ben
The view from Southwark Bridge
Avoid the crowds of the Vauxhall Bridge Roundabout
And the race begins at Stockwell to see who can cycle up the road the fastest
* JOKE! I do not go through red lights unless REALLY late
UPDATE: Cathy’s comment below reminds me, I now cycle in my normal work clothes, but pencil skirts don’t work as they slowly work up your thighs until you are effectively flashing everyone. And you don’t want to wear anything you would be upset about sweating over or getting a little oily. So I’m now wearing work clothes that are a little more casual – A-line skirts and dresses, loose and light, and I ALWAYS cycle in heels, much more fun to cycle glam – but don’t get me wrong, I still cycle fast and I WILL overtake you if you don’t get a move on. Hurrah!