One of my photos

On the bike

July 2nd, 2008 · Posted by Skuds in Life · 3 Comments · Life

I feel bad that I make so much of cycling to work.  Loads of other people both older and younger than me cycle all the time, so why is it such a big deal?   I think the clue there is that they do it all the time, so they are used to it. I am not.  It is bloody killing me at the moment!    I really hope that I will get to be like everyone else I see on bikes – rolling along as if it is perfectly natural rather than huffing, puffing and inhaling swathes of flies all the time.

In retrospect, starting some sort of excercise after so many years of sloth might have been better done when we were not suddenly experiencing hot weather.  I would have been so happy to see drizzle today.  I still haven’t settled on a preferred route yet.  I have gone four different ways already.  Straight down Pease Pottage Hill and then up Brighton Rd in Southgate looks like being a good one though.

The big problem is finding a way home that is not too arduous: difficult when you live on top of a hill.  I have tried approaching home various ways, but you just can’t get here without climbing somewhere.  Still not sure if its worse to have a long gentle hill or a short, steep one.

I wonder how long it will take before I can take either in my stride?  It used to take me a week to get used to cycling each year, but then I was in my twenties.  I have felt myself remembering in disbelief what it felt like as a teenager. Remember how you would just cycle everywhere for hours and it never felt like hard work at all?

Tonight I used my car for the first time since Thursday and that felt strange.  Its only 1 litre but I kept getting impressed that it could actually do 30 mph+ going uphill.


3 Comments so far ↓

  • ian irvine

    It does get easier, to the point where a day without a bike ride feels like there’s something missing.
    There’s a lot of books in the library that have got useful information about cycling technique, easier ways to climb hills etc. etc.
    But I know what you mean about cycling for hours without effort when a teenager. I used to have a second hand Post Office bike, with 5 Sturmey-Archer gears. It cost me a fiver.Me and my friends used to cycle ludicrously long distances, with tons of fishing gear.
    And we’d usually catch a few small gudgeon.
    Happy Days!

  • skud's sister

    Try the sustrans website ( for routes. They should be able to suggest safer/quieter routes for you – although they are unable to do anything about hills…)

  • Skuds

    Ian, I do believe that, despite cycling as a teenager and then as a regular commuter through London for several year, I don’t really know how to ride a bike. In fact I suspect that I just relied on brute force and legpower to compensate for a lack of technique – but that was back when I had some brute force and legpower to fall back on. Maybe its time I got some education in that area.

    Probably on the net rather than the library though.

    Jane – you might be missing the point a bit. I’m not too bothered about quiet and safe routes. For me the danger was part of the appeal, and I really liked the busy bits as well – being able to fly past traffic jams always made my day.

    I should try and grow out of that though.

    What I really hate is having to stop. Just when you have some momentum going a traffic light turns red.

    Our cycle paths are even worse for making you stop. The main road into town has side streets down one side and none on the other. The bike path is on the side-street side so you have to stop for junctions. It also has lamp posts and bus shelters in the middle of it.

    If my muscles and respiratory/cardio-vascular systems don’t get acclimatised soon I shall think about petitioning the council for some sort of drag lift up Pease Pottage Hill.