Why I love commuting by bike

When I wake up in the morning, most days around 6:30, the weather isn’t always glorious – it seldom is. Occasionally, there will be a beautiful sunrise and I’ll kick myself for not getting up earlier to take advantage.

Sometimes it’s raining heavily, sometimes it’s a crisp morning with the threat of ice on the road lingering but it takes a lot to stop me from commuting on my bike.

In between yawns, I pull on my thermal tights, thick winter socks, merino base layer – probably long sleeve – my jacket, neck warmer, then I’ll peer over my shoulder out of my window to see if the sun has risen yet and hope I’ve remembered to charge my lights.

Me: 0 Cars: 1

No sooner am I snoozing my alarm am I stood out on the street mounting my bike. My commute isn’t long: it’s about 7km (road) or 9km if I take the bike path. It therefore seems futile to use a car – not least because I don’t have one but why sit in peak hour traffic for the sake of 7km. In a previous life, I could’ve run it!

As I set out, I quickly find myself weaving in and out of stationary traffic, wrangling my way to the front of the queue for the next green light. Inevitably, I get through the lights while cars I passed moments ago get caught for round 2.

Me: 1 Cars: 1

There is one particular set of light from which I know I can beat the cars all the way to work. There are subsequent sets of lights following this set and the sequence is such that it’s impossible to get a clean sweep through them all. Not for me though! I don’t have to sit in traffic five cars deep at each set so I just zip through on my segregated bike lane and laugh smugly in the faces of all the single-passenger vehicles looking miserable on their way to jobs they hate.

Me: 3 Cars: 1 (I love my job so extra point for me)

There is just one section of my commute I dread. The last section of segregated bike lane before I turn off is particularly nerve-racking. As I approach the intersection, the bike lane curves around the corner meaning I have to look behind me to see if traffic is turning into the road. Inevitably it is and I’m usually going at a decent pace hoping I don’t have to unclip. Unfortunately, cars swing around that corner like they have no care in the world. I don’t understand why this bike lane is set out like it is. Why doesn’t it just continue straight like every other bike lane, forcing traffic to bide their time and let you pass before they make their move?

Segregated bike lane at a junction

Intersection of terror: Alan Turing Way

Me: 3 Cars: 2

The best part of my commute is getting to work knowing I’ve had a stress-free commute (despite the above intersection), getting some fresh air and exercise and all for free. I don’t have to pay for a car (fuel, tax, maintenance etc) to park in a car park for 8 hours or more, to then drive home (sit in some more traffic) and park it overnight at my house/on the street for another 8 hours. My wheels burn fat, not oil and I roll into work feeling ready to start the day – especially if I’ve beaten the guy who crept into my bike box at the traffic lights!

Me: 35743956 Cars: 2

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GraceQOM

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