This cycling life

That’s a bit of an overstatement, really. I’ve been to work and back a few times (about 10-12 miles each way) and on a short ride round here once. There is a fundamental misunderstanding between me and the guys in the bike shop: they think I aspire to be a cyclist and so have started showing me cycling shoes and talking about ‘Attacking the hills’; I just want to get to work without traffic hassle, including, eventually, maybe, up the hill in Wootton.

I quite like cycling again, though. It’s a good way of appreciating Oxford’s wonderful flatness and unavoidable head winds. You would think that if you were cycling into the wind in one direction and then changed direction, you would no longer be cycling into the wind. That is only if you have never cycled in Oxford, where the wind comes from all directions at the same time. Often with a handful of drizzle in it, just for the hell of it. (The calendar says it’s June out there. I say, the calendar knows fuck all: it’s October and other than a brief foray into July that happened in May, it’s been October since April.) I sort of prefer it as cycling weather, though. On a sunny day, I’d much rather be jauntering about in the BMW of Expense. Cycling can’t compete with driving for sheer fun, but it is practical in this bike friendly, car choked city.

It’s also insidious. Already, the distance to work doesn’t feel all that far and a hill that I’ve previously walked up, begging for breath, just disappeared today. Perhaps I am beginning to understand gears?  I’m getting to know my bike better than I ever did when I used it in the US, and ambiguity has turned to appreciation. Now that I’ve got panniers, even all the kit (lights, light chargers, incredibly heavy bike lock, waterproofs) is much easier to deal with.

So, I suppose I’ll keep going. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how quickly the trip has become manageable, almost comfortable. It’ll be 16-17 miles each way to the new job, and that’s gone from seeming like something I’d have to work towards, to a reasonable proposition. In another month, I suspect I won’t notice the extra miles at all. O frabjous day! Exercise achieved without really noticing.

4 thoughts on “This cycling life

  1. Aah, the unavoidable head winds of Oxford, I really don’t miss them of a morning … however I do admire your bike commuting, very impressive. In fact I almost envy getting that kind of exercise as part of the daily routine. I am going to be using my bike much more soon, but the challenge will be not so much the distance, but rather the balancing of a small boy and associated crap on the back, while either a) shouting at slightly larger boy on scooter, or b) balancing said scooter on front of bike, while remaining calm and – fingers crossed – safe. Hmm. Maybe we should just buy a second car!

  2. Exercise achieved without noticing? Oh, that is TRULY the goal! I have a mere 3-mile commute to work, but have yet to get past the thinking about getting the bike fixed and biking to work to actually doing so.

  3. It’s strange, but we have wind that blows all ways all the time especially when I’m biking to work. But no hills. (We do temps in the 100s though to make up for that.) Yeah for bike commuting. I wish more people did it. :-)

    liz in texas

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