So, today - Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - was Strava's Global Cycle To Work Day. Yorkshire's weather gods decided to celebrate by laying on some truly lavish heavy rain, with a pretty decadent amount of wind thrown in for good measure. Being a firm follower of the there's-no-such-thing-as-bad-weather-only-inadequate-clothing philosophy, and always up for a bit of Rule #9, I donned the lycra and hit the road.
After a morning in the studio, I cycled to the Cathedral to pick up something from the office, then on to Ballifield Primary School to lead some Y3s in a singing session, the home for lunch and some prep for tomorrow's session with Forefathers, then back to the Cathedral for Evensong. 20.4 miles all told - which takes me to 1947 miles for the year to date.
Since September 2014, this has been pretty standard commuting for me, sometimes more, sometimes less (largely dependent on how many schools I'm visiting in a day) and in May 2015 I took the leap and sold my car.
Having spent nine years driving pretty much everywhere in Sheffield, it's no exaggeration at all to say that cycling to work has changed my life. Here's a few things that I've noticed along the way.
Sheffield is an incredible city to cycle in:
THE HILLS (these are one of the greatest things about it, and will take quite some going-in-to, so warrants a whole other post, at some point).
*Most* of the city's drivers and *most* of the city's cyclists are considerate and patient.
The Peak District National Park is amazing for some extended pre- and post-work loops.
I estimate that 90% of my commuting is quicker by bike than by car. Not exaggerating at all here. Due to a mixture of number 7, horrendous rush hour traffic, and good cycle routes.
Falling off your bike onto tarmac hurts like hell.
Fixing a bike is WAY cheaper than fixing a car.
Running a bike is WAY cheaper than running a car.
Buying a bike is WAY cheaper than buying a car (obviously, that depends on what sort of bike and what sort of car, though).
I NEVER have to wait in a queue of traffic. I can't overstate quite how much of an amazing thing this is. It's something I never once appreciated in all my years of being passed by cyclists whilst stuck in a car in a traffic jam, but it's something that I highly recommend. As a consequence, I'm never stressed about travelling - quite the opposite in fact - and I'm loads happier.
Most people who commute by car are the only person in that car.
I've gone from a die-hard stressed-out car-driver, to a fitter, happier (and more productive) commuting road cyclist. If you're even slightly considering making the change, JUST DO IT. Don't hesitate. Visit your local bike shop tomorrow and buy a bike. And then ride it. It doesn't matter how far, or how fast, or for how long, just ride it. You wont regret it.
Below are some pics from Sunday's extra long, and extra sunny commute to the Cathedral.*
*DISCLAIMER: Not all commutes go through the peaks and it's not always sunny and warm. In fact, most of the time it's wet, windy, or cold, or some disgusting combination of all three.