I’ve cycled in London for over 6 years’ now. It was pretty tough at first, but my confidence grew the more I cycled. My first bike was an old ladies Raleigh, red, 27-inch wheels which powered a light on my front wheel when I cycled. It was perfect and all I needed to get from a to b across London. I cycled as often as I could to and from work, which led me to cycle more during evenings and weekends.
I loved the freedom it gave me. I also felt I was exploring the city too, finding new places that I wouldn’t have found if I’d been on the tube. I saved money, time, was helping the environment and keeping fit: all at the same time. I was instantly hooked.
It’s not just about the bike
Cycling isn’t just the only way to travel for me. I love to run and also walk, wherever I can. I count myself very lucky, as I’ve lived in London the whole time I’ve worked in London. I’ve moved around, as Londoners do, but never been further than 7 miles from where I’ve worked – meaning I can either cycle or run, most of the time. During my time living in London, I’ve trained for several marathons – New York, Amsterdam, Paris and London, so switching my bike for my running shoes was the most efficient way for me to train during the working week.
I honestly feel it’s tough living and working in London. It’s pretty brutal at times – busy, loud, tiring if you’re just starting your career as you might be working extra hours to impress, or struggle to find that work/life balance. That said, London is an incredible city, if you make it work for you. I find solace in using my journey to work as an excuse to travel actively. It clears my head, saves me money and makes me feel less terrified every time I step into the building I work in, knowing it might be several hours of working on a computer or sitting in meetings, before I get some fresh air.
How I currently travel – a typical week
I live in Bermondsey, South East London, which is fortunately quite central (start of zone two). I work just by Cannon Street station and it’s around 2 miles from home to work. I must say, I’ve never lived so close to where I work and totally appreciate this is quite rare, so I must make the most of it! I work mostly in the office, very occasionally travelling to other parts of London and beyond for meetings.
My typical week consists of around 30 miles of travel, mostly in and around London. These miles are covered by:
- About 12 miles on my bike
- About 10 miles using the tube
- About 8 miles walking
As well as this, I probably do around 6 to 10 miles a week of running to keep fit. Now, I know that at the moment I mostly travel Powered by Me, but the difference is, that it’s not all Powered by Me. I am already dreading the thought of putting my oyster card in a drawer for a whole year. To avoid me having access to it altogether, I think I’ll just give it away to someone who needs it! For me, the adventure I’ve set myself is about the mental determination as much as the physical. It’s about not using any form of transport other than one that is Powered by Me. And it’s about planning the longer journeys I’ll need to do, that are likely to be 40, 50 and even over 60 miles in distance. They’ll be the journeys that will be seriously challenging, where I’ll blog and vlog about it all.
So, if you’re interested in this blog post and my aspiration, please share, comment and follow this adventure with me. I’ll begin on 1 January 2017, but during December this year, will begin posting more and getting prepared, so watch this space as more is coming soon.