Friday, 11 July 2008

I made it to six months!

Me & the Brompton sitting in a luggage alcove on the 17.29 from Charing Cross

It is now 6 months since I have had the Brompton and I have been cycling on a fairly regular basis. It has been a lot harder than I expected but the worst was the first 2 months when I was physically tired from learning to reuse muscles and build up strength and stamina. Although I had got the bike during a fairly bright and warm spell in February, the weather turned to snow a few weeks after. I was also unprepared for all the hills I had to tackle in Greenwich and South London in general. ‘Get fit or die’ was the mantra I had for those first few weeks.

What helped me to keep going was getting cycle training. Without this I would have probably lost confidence and just kept the bike for off road trips. With training I can cycle safely on local fast and busy roads and manage traffic in the West End and City.

Most of all I am still an advocate for cycling in style. Style = going at a slower pace than other cyclists and wearing your ordinary clothes. They are many cycle clones (cyclists in Lycra, helmets, back packs and yellow tabards) But in an funny way I think that other traffic ignores them because if your see one yellow jacket you have seen them all. On the other hand me in my dress and heels will be noticed by taxi and bus drivers if only for the novelty value. I don’t care because it means that being seen means I stay alive.

I have used my car a lot less over the last 6 months and I have grown to appreciate driving. Yet the increase in petrol it means I am likely to reduce my journeys by car in the future.

I am really pleased that I got the Brompton. It is a fabulous bike. I have had very little problems. It is easy to fold, unfold and transport about stations and shops on it’s wheels. I have learned to carry mine but I wish I had the money to buy a lighter model. Carrying all my stuff and the bike can be tough occasionally; but this is only when navigating stairs.

I am amazed how much I like cycling, it’s a rush without side-affects. I am considering getting another bike.