Brighton is a fairly bicycle-friendly place – there are bike lanes and cycle paths across most of the city. So, no excuses not to cycle everywhere, right? Wrong. Whilst I have always enjoyed pootling along the seafront on my bicycle, just for fun, when it comes to utility cycling (shopping, getting to a meeting etc) I have mostly been less than enthusiastic. During 30 days of biking I’ve done lots of this sort of cycling, and I have to say that I take (nearly) all of my moaning back.
Let’s go through some excuses (previously used by myself), and why they are rubbish:
“I could drive.”
You could. But it would cost you money in petrol and parking, you’ll probably get stuck in traffic, and you could be cycling instead!
“I could get a bus. That would be much less effort.”
I use buses a lot. But I am trying to replace short bus journeys with a bike ride, and it has been an excellent choice. Since making the decision to cycle to a weekly meeting on the other side of Brighton, I have saved over £16/month in bus fares. It is also quicker!
“I don’t want to arrive at a meeting drenched in sweat and smelling like a teenage boy.”
Before I go any further, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you that I am a world-class sweater. I’m not talking about jumpers, I’m talking about perspiration. I could perspire for England. So I feel that I can talk with authority on this subject.
Here are some expert tips:
- Wear super duper roll-on deodorant. ‘Man deodorant’ for some stupid reason is much better than ‘lady deodorant’. We women don’t sweat, apparently. Ha!
- Take a spare top rolled up in your bag (if you roll it up it won’t get creased).
- Allow plenty of time for your journey. If you’re not having to rush, there’s much less chance you’ll get sweaty in the first place.
“I will inevitably ruin my trousers in some kind of bike chain/fabric incident.”
I’ve never actually encountered this problem, but that is probably because I keep my bike clean and my jeans slim! Flares belong in the 70′s, but if you insist on wearing them, you’re going to have to tuck them in your socks or get some sexy trouser clips. Suit trousers can be a problem, but it is avoidable. My good friend Dave cycles to work in central London, and he has the right idea here:
“I have premonitions of my shopping bags splitting and watching tins of beans rolling down the road.”
This one is simple – take a proper bag. Hanging plastic bags on handlebars is a disaster waiting to happen. Either get paniers for your bike, or a comfy satchel/backpack.
Put on something waterproof and get on with it ;-)