Controversial Commute Tips – Introduction

Despite being a highly non-confrontational, easy-going kind of chap, who takes the middle ground with cycling, I find myself frequently at odds with lots of other cycling folks.

I mean, I’m not a mountain biker, I’m not a long-distance tourer, I’m not a suit-wearing commuter, I’m not a triathlete. If anything I’m closest to being a roadie, yet I don’t race and I’m not in a club – heck I’ve even got a bike that’s mostly made of metal, rather than carbon fibre.

But I am highly pro-cycling, both as a form of fitness and as a form of general transport. I ride to work every day and encourage others out of their cars at every opportunity. Yet I find myself thinking what feel like “dirty thoughts”. Things like:

  • cycling is actually quite dangerous sometimes;
  • I should wear a helmet;
  • commuting is a big faff;
  • I’d rather be seen and safe than look stylish;
  • I’d rather be comfortable than look cool;
  • it would be easier to drive today.

I’ve been cycle commuting my 3.5 miles a day for nearly three years now, and it’s brilliant and I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone who lives close enough to their workplace to do it.

But cycling, it turns out, is sometimes – SOMETIMES – the opposite of all the things I want it to be, and that the pro-cycling people (including myself) advertise it as being. It’s tiring, it makes me angry, it’s complicated, it’s hampered by the weather, it’s dangerous, it’s expensive…SOMETIMES!

Some of these things are my own fault and are due to the way that I am as a cyclist, the routes I take, the way that I am as a person. But some are, I believe facts of life as a cycle commuter.

But commuting has got easier over time. I’ve learnt things, I’ve got more confident on the roads, I’ve established a routine, I’ve bought a better bike and decent gear.

Now, I’ve not been very good at sustaining series of posts, but I hope to run at least a few entries here detailing some of what I’ve experienced and learned. It’ll be an insight into how I organise that 7 miles a day in the saddle, in all weathers, and arrive in the office ready for a days work. And I hope it will be helpful to others.

I don’t want this all to be taken negatively, and I hope I don’t put anyone off – far from it! I hope to be real about what life on two wheels is like, and to make suggestions that will lighten the load a little.

Controversial? Possibly. But leaving the car at home is always going to go against the grain in this day and age – perhaps I’m just used to doing things differently.