Wed 3 Jan ‘18 11.31 GMT
Come the new year, it’s traditional for people to promise themselves that the next 12 months will be marked by a health kick, and this sometimes end up as a pledge to cycle to and from work.
In bike-unfriendly Britain, even if your commute is short enough, this can sometimes be a tricky prospect. But if it works out, the benefits – to your health, to your wallet, to your general sense of wellbeing – can be astonishing.
There’s plenty of practical advice out there for the novice cyclist. If you’re among 2018’s new intake, I’d like to instead propose five of what could be termed more philosophical or attitudinal thoughts about your new commute. Feel free to disagree or add your own ideas below.
This isn’t ‘exercise’ to be endured, it’s everyday
Don’t feel pressured to ride quickly
Ride whichever bike you want (as long as it’s safe)
The weather is your friend. Honestly
If you don’t like local cycling conditions, agitate for something better
It is a common myth that when you start cycling you are somehow inducted into a community, a homogenous mass who are all somehow responsible for each others’ infractions. Nonsense. You just use a bike as one of what are probably many means of transport.
That said, if you are dispirited, or scared, by riding conditions or driver behaviour on all or some of your route, it can be worth letting those in power know about it.
Drivers are famously good at lobbying politicians; many stand guard over each individual on-street parking space or inch of lane space like it is their sacred birthright.
Cyclists can be less active. So it’s worth letting those with influence, whether councillors, MPs or officials, know that people on bikes have a view. You might not get the UK turned into Utrecht overnight. But if no one speaks up, things will never improve.