Guest Post- Laura

10 Jun

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Since my girlfriend started cycling I, as a reasonably confident and assertive cyclist, have been reminded of exactly how dangerous many of the roads feel to those who aren’t extremely confident cyclists. Roads that I consider to be somewhat ‘okay’ to cycle on, are quite a daunting prospect for the two of us and have made planning quiet routes for us quite a headache. I have also been using much more of the off-road infrastructure than usual, which has served as quite a shocking reminder of how badly designed and implemented some sections can be.

Seeing how ordinary cyclists like her are so easily sidelined in the planning of our roads, streets and paths has served to remind me exactly how important safe and high quality infrastructure is for those who just want to be ‘bike users’ and not compete with high speed traffic (something that many experienced cyclists, myself included, often forget). So here goes, a guest post from the lovely Laura:

I’ve recently started cycling (since the beginning of April) because of the amount bus fare costs now and it got to a point where I couldn’t afford to spend on bus fare every time I wanted to go out somewhere. I wanted an easy and quick way to get around to places like to the local town center, to food shops or even just going out for a ride to get some fresh air and there are many more places, the main reason for cycling is because we had an unused bike sitting in the garage gathering dust I made the choice to start cycling. I really enjoy going out on my bike – especially when the sun is shining – it’s healthy, relaxing and a bit of exercise. Overall I am really glad that I made the choice to stop wasting money and start cycling. I get to places faster and easier than walking or sitting on the bus, I can beat the traffic! Those are the best advantages of cycling; beating the traffic, not sitting in long queues, saving my energy, getting exercise and enjoying the weather.

I don’t cycle on the roads as I find them dangerous and not trustworthy. If there were cycle lanes on the roads that are safe to use and you have more than enough space between you, the pavement and the cars coming past you, I would be more than happy to use them. Today, the roads don’t feel safe enough for me because I find some cars pass you too closely or too fast. Even if the cycle lanes were separated from the roads (which I’d prefer) I would like to see and use them because I would feel safer away from cars / buses / or any large vehicles.

I cycle in my own everyday clothes, jeans / leggings mainly. I find wearing my own clothes comfortable and satisfying because I don’t have to worry about changing before an interview or going out with some friends, I can feel nice while I’m cycling too. I don’t wear heels while cycling, but I wear either boots or pumps which I find comfortable to wear while cycling. I’m not a trainer person and I avoid wearing them whenever I can, it’s fine to wear what you like and what makes you feel good while cycling.

For the past few months now, cycling has changed my lifestyle. I feel I am more active, outgoing and independent because I can travel everywhere on my bike. It has also become another bond that I share with my boyfriend; something we have in common. I’m really glad I took up cycling and I feel it has changed me for the better and I can say I will be cycling a lot more from now on.
Laura

 If you have any questions or comments for Laura, please leave a comment below and I shall forward them to her.
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One Response to “Guest Post- Laura”

  1. congokid June 12, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Well done Laura for getting on your bike and enjoying it – in spite of the really poor infrastructure endured by people across the UK who want to do everyday travel by bike.

    As someone who regularly cycled around central London – to and from work, to the library, to the supermarket, to the cafes, to the supermarket, to the swimming pool, or just for fun – for the past 25 years, I appreciate that it’s not easy to take the plunge at first. I was very nervous the day I collected my new bike from the shop in Waterloo all those years ago.

    I’m glad I did and I’m glad I persevered. My bike became more than simply a means of transport. I saved money on getting to work and on gym subscriptions (pool membership being much cheaper!), I saved time commuting to work and arrived more refreshed and invigorated than my colleagues, I escaped the tyranny and discomfort of the Tube and the rest of London’s public transport, and salvaged my peace of mind. And most of all I enjoyed it – those 30-35 minutes gentle exercise at the start and end of the working day were probably worth the journey alone.

    Now, unfortunately, I no longer live in London but on the outskirts of Redditch. If ever a place was meant to terrorise cyclists, this is it. Car is king and it feels like I’m back at square one, trying to build up the courage to venture out on the roads on my bike. I’ve got a friend nearby who is also keen to cycle, and we’re going to be training very soon for a charity ride we’ve entered so that’s going to help.

    But it would be great if the local council could tear itself away from its fixation with transport exclusively by motor and provide safe, continuous and extensive cycling routes. There’s plenty of room – it just takes a bit of will and a lot of vision, a bit like how the Dutch have shown.

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