Cycling, a popular leisure activity for my peers and I since I could remember. Into school days, it became a means of transport as well as a favourite hobby & freedom activity. Over the years, it has become a means of expression of physical activity, freedom and chain rattling protest against air pollution on my commute.

Route Finding

I cycle regular routes every day and have regular destinations. Although, I use different routes daily to the same destinations to stop my brain to switching to autopilot as this is very dangerous. Central London now has its cycle superhighways. Yet to be discovered in greater London where they are also needed. And find myself thinking “What happened to the cycle lane?” Nan always gives me a piece of advice: “Assume everyone else is an idiot on the road”. Good advice, that. All cyclists have their shortcuts and local area knowledge; the one to work, the one to school, the one to the shop; and these can become tiresome day after day and one ordinary day a car whizzes past you, and you think “I wasn’t even paying attention to the road”. That’s why I will never take the same route twice.

An adventure on unfamiliar terrain usually fixes the issue of the cycle boredom, so does having more than one bicycle. Being on a bike in London is one of the most liberating things in the world: it’s as close to wings or a jetpack as we’re going to get for now!

Bicycle Maintenance

Safety of the working part of a bicycle is very important. We know that MOT’s are compulsory for other vehicles that use the road. Servicing you bicycle regularly will save you time, money and reduce chances of accidents.

I used to love tinkering with my bicycles on a Sunday afternoon to make sure it was ready for Monday morning. Now, it seems time-consuming and I need copious amounts of time for it. But, a quick check that all the bicycle parts are in working order is easy to do. For example,  I took a moment to examine my bicycle yesterday and noticed a bolt was missing from the front wheel. So, bicycle maintenance is highly necessary for a safe journey.

Clothing

His-Vis and Strap-ons

A study investigated the usefulness of high visibility cycle wear. It found that 2% of road users identified cyclists in dark clothing; this increased to 15% for those in a hi-vis vest but amazingly reached 90% for cyclists in both a hi-vis jacket and ankle & knee reflectors. The strap-on reflectors around the legs are more useful because the movement of the legs rotating the pedals is identifiable to cycling, can be see at 360 degrees. Whereas the vest can be covered by a rucksack or confused with construction workers, delivery drivers or street cleaners.

Lycra

Unfortunately, cycling clothing does not do wonders for your ‘street cred.’ Because it involves lycra. Wearing more Lycra does make you look like a more experienced rider, though; it just means they were sold into buying more Lycra at the shop by an experienced sales advisor.

Weather conditions

Wind

You look up at the traffic lights and they start to wobble; wind, please blow me towards my destination!

Rain

Waterproof clothing is essential for hardy cycle commuters.