I’ve alluded to it already, but whenever I possibly can, I choose to get around on my bike.
Living in London, that’s not uncommon as the alternative tends to be a crowded train, tube or – if you’re feeling rich on time – bus. For me, starting my working day (or any other day, for that matter) on public transport has a visibly negative impact on how it tends to pan out, with my journey heavily influenced by my mood and frame of mind.
To be clear, this isn’t a dig at TFL or London transport at large. I happen to think it’s an excellent service (for the most part – I have witnessed and experienced London Bridge Station in the past few weeks). I just take an inordinate amount of joy from getting around on my own steam, choosing when’s best to leave, how best to get where I’m going and being confident in how long it will take me to arrive there.
There’s also a small part of me that relishes the saving I make on tube fares. It’s pretty measly on a day-to-day level, but knowing I’ve saved upwards of £30.00 on a weekly travelcard tends to offset any guilt I might feel for ordering a big lunch or extra coffee when I’m out on a ride.
Not only are my almost-always-daily commutes helping me eat away at the 10,000km goal, but they’re also allowing me to see London as the ever-changing place that it is.
Admittedly, there are some days I get soaked through, cut-up, beeped at and even the occasional middle finger.
But for every bad ride, there are infinitely more new, exciting, interesting or just plan fortuitous things that tip the scales back in my favour: a building, object or structure that catches my eye for the first time; the sun coming up behind The Shard, Tower Bridge or a dilapidated, disused water tower; a serendipitous conversation with a stranger at a set of traffic lights (and, a little less frequently, someone you know); a tail wind on the home straight that gets me through the front door 30 seconds earlier.
Some of these moments are feelings and some of them are sights.
However, for me, they are what cycling is about.
They’re the reason I take (almost) as much enjoyment from forcing a clapped-out, old 1980s banger of a bike through the worst of what Londons roads have to offer as I do from gliding a carbon frame through the smooth and winding roads of Surrey.
It’s these moments I’m hoping to capture more and more of.