10 of the greatest joys for cyclists

In a previous video, I’ve talked about 5 of the greatest dangers facing cyclists in London. Of course it’s not just about avoiding the dangers, it’s also about taking in the joys of cycling in London.

In the new video, I wanted to explore 10 of the greatest joys London cyclists experience. We often forget many of these as we get used to each daily commute.

Take a look at the video and do share any that you would add to a Top 10 list.

We produced this video and hopefully many more future videos, thanks to a GoPro we got at Argos.

1. Challenging hill climbs

That feeling of progress with each turn of the pedal, to that moment you reach the top and feel the endorphin rush of accomplishment. You can see why some cyclists love their hill repeats. With my singlespeed, which you’ll spot in the video, I tend to stay clear from London’s toughest hills, but a good road bike from an online shop like Argos or any other retailer is well suited to the challenge.

2. Avoiding challenging hill climbs

Of course, you won’t find all cyclists doing hill repeats along Swains Lane or Broomfield Hill of Richmond Park. Some can’t think of anything worse and will plot their route accordingly. Fortunately, in London, you can stay away from them most the time.

Hate hills? Take a look at our uphill cycling strategy.

3. That smug feeling from riding on a sunny day

Those clear blue skies are a sight to be experienced from the saddle. You can’t help but smile, as you think of those poor people on the London underground, stuck under someones armpit, as opposed to taking in the majestic scenes around a sun kissed London.

4. That smug feeling from knowing you are hardcore enough to ride on a rainy day

How can you possibly be smug on a rainy day? Good question! The smugness emanates from the knowledge that you are one of the hardcore cyclists that rides year round, no matter what the weather.

5. Getting to know your local bike shop owner

In the land of self service checkouts and deliveries off Amazon, it can be nice sometimes to get to know a local independent shop owner.

6. Taking a different route from your normal everyday ride

Fancy a change? Fire up Cycle Streets, Bike Hub or even Google Maps and plot a different route home. Seeing a new part of London that was previously just a grey area on the map is a big part of the pleasure of cycling.

7. Not having to learn how to parallel park

“That space looks big enough!”  your back-seat driver says to you. You eye it cautiously, thinking of all the traffic you are going to be holding up. Some people, my dad included, have never experienced this anxiety. He’ll just swing the car around in two swift turns on the wheel and we’ll be walking off before I know what’s happening.

Fortunately, with a bicycle, you never have to experience this. The worst that may ever happen is you’ll have to move someone elses locked bike slightly out the way, so you can fit your own in the stand.

8. Not bound to any timetables

Tube strikes? Bus timetables? You are not bound to any of these restrictive societal norms. Free as a bird, you can set your own timetable. If you want an extra 5 minutes in bed – no worries, you won’t be missing your bus!

9. Not feeling guilty about the extra calories

You’ve burnt it, so you’ve earnt it, is the mantra when it comes to that delicious slice of carrot cake that is calling out to you.

A typical 7 mile ride can burn around 350 calories. Funnily enough, that’s more or less the amount of calories in a carrot cake with icing.

10. New, actually good, Cycle Superhighways are being built for people on bikes right now

March 2015, is hopefully the turn of a new leaf for cyclists in London. Tfl have started construction on the first of two physically separated routes. The new routes will be true superhighways.

Not only will this be great for the seasoned cyclists among us, but it’ll make it easier to recommend your gran jumps on a bike too.

The results of course remain to be seen and there are definitely some improvements that could have been made to the plans, but it’s a big leap in the right direction for the future of transport in London.

The feeling that better things are around the corner is a nice change from the normal doom and gloom for people on bikes.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

11 Responses to 10 of the greatest joys for cyclists

  1. Phil 16/03/2015 at 9:56 am #

    Freewheeling down an incline is one of the greatest things about cycling- it doesn’t have to be at speed. It’s as close to flying as I’ll ever get, and I do it at every opportunity. Coasting on the flat is nearly as much fun, and both are the reasons I’ll never ride a fixed gear.

    • Andreas 16/03/2015 at 11:25 am #

      Agreed – always feel it’s even better when I know I’ve just done a big hill climb so it’s time for the reward 🙂

  2. Phil 16/03/2015 at 2:30 pm #

    I live 3/4 of a mile up a hill, so I get to freewheel every day; the flip side of this is that I have to trog that distance back uphill to go home… Win on the down, lose weight through all the ascending ( especially on the 60lb cargo bike )!

  3. Spencer 17/03/2015 at 9:05 am #

    Not feeling guilty about extra calories, especially after years of feeling guilty but more a guilty pleasure when cycling past the massive traffic jams along the A13…

  4. Human Cyclist 18/03/2015 at 8:34 am #

    Hmm.
    Smug feeling? How about the feeling of being happy to be alive?! I’m not sure the blog captures my joys of cycling and many of the points are either cliched or pitch cycling versus driving.

    Cycling for the sheer hell of it works for me. Unless it’s raining of course. Phil’s coasting is closer to the mark. Sunrises, the smells, the sights, the feeling of sitting down after a hard ride, cornering at speed, pootling along the canal, fixing a puncture, cleaning your bike so it is shiny, feasting after a day in the saddle, riding a long distance, cycling with others. Think I’ll stop there, I feel a blog of my own coming on!

  5. Kevin 19/03/2015 at 12:42 am #

    Just wondering how many calories in that rocky road and vanilla latte I had….guessing more than 7 miles!

  6. Carl 20/03/2015 at 12:54 pm #

    Coming across a lovely smooth road of tarmac

    or

    just the quiet click click click as you pedal along and you realise you are making no effort at all

    or finally the brilliant feeling of zipping past another cyclist who you are racing with, they realise they have left it too late and no way they can up their speed to catch you and you hear their shouts of frustration as they eat your dust 🙂

  7. Matt 20/03/2015 at 4:58 pm #

    Surprised no one else has mentioned it, filtering past blocked lanes of traffic, almost no better (smug) moment, add in a sunny day and you’re close to nirvana!

    • JimF 24/03/2015 at 9:06 pm #

      Spot on Matt.

      My greatest joy is cycling over six lanes of non-moving traffic on the North Circular, on my dedicated cycling/pedestrian bridge, safe in the knowledge that choosing to cycle home will get me home in time to see my 2 year old son.

  8. Dave 20/03/2015 at 5:15 pm #

    No VED, no licence, no MOT, no queuing, much lower maintenance costs, terrific bike for less than cheapest car, better health and fitness, in fact nothing wrong and everything is good

  9. AdamJackson 23/03/2015 at 4:56 pm #

    Cycling in rain is something that you will never get in even world’s most expensive luxury supercar. The drops of rain hit against your face as you pedal through rain. I have a car, but still it’s one of the most awaited moments when I can get a break from corporate net and cycle either in rain or in storm. A thunderstorm will be a pleasant gift. My cycling behavior sounds weird to my mom. Anyway, if you want fun with #Cycling; try rain.

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