Monday, 28 August 2006

learning to cycle

Since buying a bike in Canada and shipping it here on the airplane, I have been relearning how to cycle. I want to cycle to work when I begin next week. It's about an 8 mile journey and Ant is helping me get ready for it. On Friday we went to Imperial College to work. Cycling there was a scary proposition for me, since we had to spend quite a bit of time on a very scary road in Kensington. We walked across a few of the biggest junctions instead of crossing traffic. We made it there in about an hour. On the way back I was much more confident, and we cut down our time dramatically to about 40 minutes. On that trip, Ant rode behind me, which allowed me to feel more protected in traffic.

Yesterday we mapped out a route to my school and set off in the early afternoon. The cycle maps provided by the city of London colour code routes that are cycle-friendly. On our way there, we took quite a bit of paths through parks and along a river. Unfortunately, this was not as pleasant as it sounded beforehand. The paths were gravelled, and would be unlit at night. The parks sections were filled with people walking their dogs or pushing prams. One park was so large that we got lost inside it and, of course, there were no signposts on the paths. The last section of the journey was excellent, since there was a wide cycle path alongside a long road, separate from both traffic and pedestrians. The whole journey took over an hour. When we arrived at the school, we stopped for a coffee at a restaurant down the street.

While at the restaurant we reviewed the map and planned a very different route home. We used the same good cycle path for the first third of the journey, but then followed medium sized roads instead of going into the parks. These roads were much better and we made great time. It took about 50 minutes to get home again. Before that trip I didn't realise that our street is actually a hill from the Sainsburys end to here--quite tiring on a bike since the gradient is small but the hill is long.

I am feeling pretty positive about cycling at the moment. Although I have a lot of pain in my backside from the hard seat and the bumps! We are going to travel to the school a few more times this week to finalise a good route for me.


Kevin & Sonya said...

Hi Sare! you are so organized! I guess all that trailing means Anthony has a bike too? Kevin just got one and I would like to bike but I am not sure I will have time - thus the purchase would be worth it for me. I am scared of biking too. Last time I biked it was with Rach and Jon and Kev in California - and it was a werid feeling. I thought I would fall off... oh and then there was the motorbike incident.:) but that does not count.


sarah said...

Ahaha! You're right motorbikes don't count. And I found it strange to go back to cycling, too. I hadn't done it since I was a kid. But I guess it's true what they say, you never forget how.

Ant is the original cyclist. He has been going everywhere on his bike for years before I met him. I started off with a cheap bike that Matt's friend was getting rid of to see if I liked it. Then when I felt a bit more committed I bought my own one.