Thursday, January 9, 2020

Feeling awesome on my bike

French Village Diaries feeling awesome on my bike #KTTinyTourer Thames London cycling
Along the Thames with London skyline in the background

Hey Britain, you don’t need Brexit to distance yourself from the EU, take it from me, your overnight road closures for Smart Motorway upgrades are doing a pretty effective job of blocking the access to your major ports. After a return trip using Dover and Portsmouth, to say I’m sick of the sight of road cones is an understatement and the only journey I enjoyed in the ten days was our adventure into London; two days, one night and 107kms – by bike.

French Village Diaries feeling awesome on my bike #KTTinyTourer Thames London cycling
The safe cycle way over Blackfriars Bridge in London

With river towpaths, Quiet Ways and Cycle Super Highways, cycling in London is exhilarating, far easier than I expected and much cheaper than taking the train or the car. Having commuted the 50kms from Woking to London by train for many years, making the journey by bike was awesome. I saw places and buildings up close that I’d only ever seen whiz by through a train window, as well as discovering new corners of London and rediscovering old haunts from my working years there. Making the journey by bike was something I never dreamed I’d ever do but is now up there on my top bike experiences to date.

The irony is that after years of disruptions and millions of pounds invested in upgrading to Smart Motorways (that I’m sure by the time the last stretch is finished the first areas to be completed will be out of date) traffic congestion will still be an issue. The only way to relieve the roads of cars is to make the alternatives more appealing. While many cycleways are well marked and safe, many more are on narrow roads with huge potholes and dangerous drain covers that force the cyclist to weave around them. This is where the investment needs to happen, not on roads exclusively for cars and lorries.

French Village Diaries feeling awesome on my bike #KTTinyTourer Thames London cycling
Along the Thames in London

Sitting in my elevated window seat enjoying breakfast in London and keeping out of the way of the rush hour, it was obvious commuting by bike is popular for both men and women. As Adrian regularly commutes by bike all over the UK, I needed no convincing, but this is a fact that is worth sharing. You can be female, work in an office and arrive by bike.

With the catastrophic bush fires and soaring temperatures in Australia and the extreme rainfall and flooding in parts of France, climate change must now become something we all consider when making our daily choices. It must not just be an item on a political agenda, it is real life and we can all make a difference if we try.

I do appreciate cycling isn’t for everyone, but aiming to make less car journeys, by combining tasks in town with shopping, or car sharing with friends will also help. I’d also like to point out age shouldn’t be an issue as my neighbour Pierrette will soon celebrate her 80th birthday, had a hip replacement last year, but still rides her bike every week and Robert Marchand, who we met whilst cycling in the Ardeche a few years ago, is still riding his bike, and setting records, despite being a mere 108 years old. Awesome!

I’m making 2020 my year of being Awesome and I’d love you to join me. Take it from me, one journey by bike instead of by car will mean you are awesome too.

French Village Diaries feeling awesome on my bike #KTTinyTourer Bollocks to Brexit London cycling
Thanks to the Pimlico Plumbers for their Bollocks to Brexit slogan

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