“Oh, you cycled here?”
I always feel time slowing down as soon as I tell someone that I reached them by bike. I wonder what statement will come next.
Isn’t it dangerous?
This is by far the most common response I hear. I’ve answered it for friends, for readers and for family. If this is the first thing people think when you tell them you cycled somewhere in the city, then it’s easy to see why there are not more cyclists.
Before you jump on a bike and try cycling in London for yourself, it does look rather dangerous. Fast moving traffic, without much space on the roads and hardly any protection. From the outside, you can see danger everywhere.
The reports of accidents and stories of near misses further that perception.
When I get asked “is cycling dangerous?” I tell people that I feel safe on my bike and that I’ve taken a private cycle training course that made a real difference to how I cycle.
I could never do that!
Isn’t it funny how quick we are to dismiss something as beyond us?
I’m guilty of the same. I see a roller-coaster and I think, I’d never ride that!
Yet, when I push myself to try it out, it’s not so bad after all, in fact, it’s rather good fun.
Cycling in London is the same. Unless people try it, they’ll not know what they are missing out on.
But where’s your bike?
I’m never entirely sure why I get asked this question. Should I be carrying my bike with me at all times? Do people think I just magic it away somewhere out of sight? Are people worried it will be stolen the moment I leave it out of my sight?
I normally just shrug, point in a general direction and say “I’ve locked her up”. I enjoy throwing in the “her” as it makes me feel like my bike is a fine ship.
How long does it take?
This is a good question! I always think when someone asks me this it’s a good time to surprise them with how fast it is to cycle in London. “I can be on Oxford Street in 15 minutes!” I proudly boast.
In an experiment I did a while back I raced my bike against the London underground. The bike always won!
You can typically see the cogs ticking over in someone’s head as they work out how much extra time in bed that would mean for their commute.
That’s awesome! Me too!
This is my favourite response! I’m hearing it more often these days. I’ve always got a ton of things to talk about when someone tells me they cycle to work too. Oh really? What bike do you ride? Have you ever been down to Richmond Park? Have you heard about that cycle cafe in Soho? It’s an instant new friend!
What response do you get when you tell someone you cycled somewhere? Leave a comment below!
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.