Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cycling: 3 Years On

I had a handy little throwback on my phone last night to tell me that 3 years ago to the day, I was taking pictures of my shiny new rucksack, all packed ready to cycle to work for the very first time the following day.

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That big red Dutch bike weighed almost 18kg, and we called it (lovingly) the Crimson Beast. I wasn't sure cycling to work was going to be for me, but then what do I know?

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I started cycling to work because I was struggling to find another way to keep active in a city I didn't know anyone else much in. I think Tom was joking when he suggested it, but then I've always been one for a challenge. 

Longer term followers of my blog will of course know, that cycling worked out well for me, I cycled to work pretty religiously for almost 2 years and 2 bikes later, although I don't get to cycle commute anymore, I'm still pretty in love with 2 wheels for a bit of added joy. 

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This one is from 2 years ago at the back end of January. I moved to my single speed bike (which I loved and sorely regret selling on) and cycling was still a daily fixture. The yellow rucksack was still going strong, although the waterproof cover had become a necessity for both the different and darker cycle route having moved house as well as the realisation that the clothes within said rucksack would in fact get wet if it rained.... 

At the peak of my cycle commuting, I was getting through around 400km per month on my bike. I was lucky to live 20-25 mins ride from my office and getting the train actually took longer than riding in. One of the perks of being a manager is that I had enough office space to keep things like spare clothes and wash kit at work too, meaning I didn't require a super huge rucksack every day. In fact, the rucksack got progressively smaller for a while... 

It's FRIDAY! Current cycle commute combo- dance Capris, H&M base layer, Nike Frees, Sprint hydropack & Bontrager (youth) helmet

When I left my management job, I treated myself to a full road bike. I'd been lusting after something with gears for some of my more serious weekend rides (I did London to Cambridge and London to Southend on my fixie...). My Trek Lexa SL is still with me, although I'm only getting out on it roughly once per week at the moment, it's still a joy to ride though. 

Take me back.

Cycling has given me many things in the last 3 years. At a time when money was tight, cycling gave me freedom to do some fun stuff rather than spending money on Oyster Card top ups. It gave me the confidence to navigate London without relying on a tube map all the time and best of all it got me moving all the time.

Being active has become increasingly important to me, because it keeps my head straight and gives me focus that seems to filter through to the rest of my life. I could never have run were it not for cycling first- cycling gave me a basic level of fitness so I could start somewhere. Cycling still brings me joy- there is, to me, something magical about using your own energy to power a machine. I love that it can also bring the freedom of choice- travelling at times that suit me and not needing to rely on other people. I guess in short, I heart my bike, still.

Never felt so deserving of an ice cream. Kudos to my friend for an awesome recommendation- Rossi's Westcliff
Southend, 2014

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