Thursday, March 15, 2018

Bicycles. Who knew?

I feel like I'm the last person to discover that bicycles unlock super powers. I was under the misconception that they are simply a means of getting from A to B.

I have read often and often of the exponential benefits of riding a bike. Mr Money Mustache and The Escape Artist in particular are vocal on this subject. I have always loved the idea of cycling, but the thought of actually getting on a bike was still pretty scary - especially in London.

So I talked about getting a bike but never actually did anything about it. And lo! My boyfriend observed this, and decided to act - he bought me a bike for my birthday present. This was an awesome idea, but until last week still a slightly theoretical one.

Since last week, I have been cycling to work and back most days - and it's transformed so much more than my commute.

Benefits of bikes - the obvious:

1. Free commuting. Duh. This was one of my main motivations - smashing my Oyster card (aka public transport network) spending to smithereens.

2. More exercise and more free time. Hard to fit into the average day. Why not use the commute instead? Especially as cycling gets me to work and back faster than the bus.

Benefits of bikes - the unexpected:

1. Determination and improved problem solving. Screw you, rain, I'm not letting you get in the way of my lovely commute. Flat tyre? Internet plus bike shop equals restored speed.

2. Skills. Gradually getting the hang of pumping a tyre, and wanting to understand how the gear thingummybob works. Feeling less ignorant and more smug each time I 'unlock' another function. (And no need to defeat a boss to level up!)

3. Energy. My morning cycle is the equivalent of a triple espresso shot when it comes to waking me up and getting my blood pumping. (But also has much better impact on both wallet and health than a daily triple espresso...)

4. Better separation between home and work. During my cycle home, I focus on the road, the bike, the burn going up hill and the sense of flying as I coast down the other side. By the time I get home, I have completely unplugged from work. 

5. Independence. It sounds silly, but now I hate waiting at the bus stop. Why do I have to wait for someone else to come and collect me - when the bike means my departure and arrival time are entirely down to my choice and my leg muscles?

Any more unexpected benefits of cycling that you've discovered?

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