Why did you first decide to start cycling?

its a fishIt’s interesting to watch people take that first plunge into cycling and immensely pleasing to hear about how much they enjoyed it. Recently, I’ve been quite excited as my friend will be joining the cycling ranks. His move to a different part of London means he will no longer be walking distance from work. Hence, it’s bike time. He asked me which bike I’d recommend and I said this.

Personally, I started cycling because I saw that my journey into work would either involve a cramped bus journey or two cramped tube journeys. Of course, the rest is history.

But I’m not interested in me (As I’m not a very interesting individual – some say borderline dull) I’m more interested in hearing why you guys got hooked to the drug that is cycling.

Leave a comment below..

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72 Responses to Why did you first decide to start cycling?

  1. Dave Escandell 08/04/2011 at 9:18 am #

    Cant remember not cycling. Of course there was a period in my late teens/early 20’s when I didn’t cycle (because I thought that I was too cool for that), which is odd because being a student in London now comes with a bicycle as a given.

    I got back into regular cycling when I first moved out of London and realised that (when the weather is good) we have one of the finest looking countrysides in Europe. From there it became my main mode of transport when I didn’t have to travel for meetings.

    I loved cycling so much that to an extent it forms part of my working life too.

    For me it’s never been about ‘green’ issues or cost etc…it’s always been about slowing down a bit, not having to get from A to B as fast as possible and generally looking up and taking things in rather than letting teh world go by without actually being part of it.

    As a result I’ve had a number of different bikes and styles of bikes. I’ve settled on a bike very similar to your recommendation. In winter I tend to ride it with a flat bar and around March it has a make over and is fitted with drops and slicker tyres.

  2. Matt Bee 08/04/2011 at 9:34 am #

    I always considered cycling, but thought that my journey from Leytonstone to Chelsea Harbour would be too far, how wrong I was. When a colleague announced he would be cycling a similar distance then I decided that I could do it too.

    Now I’m entering Sportives, have done a 70.3 Ironman (full to follow), cycled to Brussels via Amsterdam and since moving house enjoy the Surrey Hills as much as possible. You could say its allowed me to do things I’d never have thought possible.

  3. Liz 08/04/2011 at 9:38 am #

    For me it was a good form of excersise. I was advised to do something to strengthen my core due to a hip problem. Working shifts classes where out, had cycled when younger so had my hubby. Hip much improved and am loving it. Also now commute and doing first sportive in may. Another hooked cyclist.

  4. Nick 08/04/2011 at 9:55 am #

    Think my dad taught me to cycle as a kid.
    I just like the mix of being outdoors in the fresh air and getting some exercise. To be honest am not so keen on cycling when there are big trucks whizzing past, so I tend to stick to the parks and canals where possible. If only there were more dedicated cycle ways!
    Couldn’t do without my paniers on the back though in case I need to do some shopping.

  5. townmouse 08/04/2011 at 10:02 am #

    Another ‘never really stopped’ although there were periods when I wouldn’t cycle regularly. Now that I’ve moved out of London, my cycling habit means we don’t need a second car, and is a life saver in a place where we get four buses a day, and the nearest shop is five miles away. I also get a bit of a buzz out of finding new recruits – from being the only cyclist in the village, practically, I’ve now got two friends joining me regularly, and their teenage kids are discovering the freedom that having their own means of transport brings.

  6. Jane 08/04/2011 at 10:11 am #

    I started cycling to impress a boy. It didn’t work, but at least I started cycling! True story.

  7. Kt McPhee 08/04/2011 at 10:14 am #

    Looking back, it wasn’t a conscious decision – after moving to London it was a matter of when, not if, I would be getting around by bike instead of slogging it out on buses and tubes.

    The comment that triggered my visit to the bike shop was a friend’s assertion that once you start cycling, you never want to get back on public transport (which I still repeat now to friends considering making the transition).

    Growing up cycling and having a cycle-mad father were big factors in inspring me to be a cyclist in London, but in the long term having an affection for the bicycle that supercedes the downsides of city biking (e.g. danger factor; sweatiness if commuting(!), threat of theft) are what keeps me pedalling around with a smile every day.

  8. jonny 08/04/2011 at 10:20 am #

    just got fed up with TFL. Took up a 10 mile daily commute last summer and managed to stay on through the winter.

    Now doing 100+ miles a week, lost 5 inches off my waist and feeling great. the novelty of overtaking the packed busses on my old commute route has not worn off!

    even better now the suns been out!

  9. Dave Hodgkinson 08/04/2011 at 10:23 am #

    It was a commute along the canal from Camden to Paddington which took 40 minutes or more on public transport. It now takes 15 minutes cycling and a few minutes faffing around with locks at either end. I’ve now ventured out as far as the BBC at White City discovering exactly where Portobello Market is 🙂

    Now to upgrade my hybrid to a proper road bike.

  10. Bill 08/04/2011 at 10:24 am #

    I got convicted of dwi, lost my license and needed a way to get to work. Turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. Got my license back a long time ago, just never put the bike away. No matter how good my day is, my commute is always the best part of my day.

  11. Jason 08/04/2011 at 10:29 am #

    Dad worked for Raleigh. ‘Nuff said.

    For a few years as a kid one of the ‘big events’ of my summer was a major criterion on the streets of downtown Chicago; it was a work event for dad but just like a big festival for me. My first job was in a bike shop at 15. In college (read: university) I spent most afternoons out mountain biking after classes, and spent several years in Seattle commuting rain or shine.

    I do less now in London than I have, in part because I tend to be out late a lot and I’m lnot too fond of riding in the rain in the dark while drunk. But even then it’s still a great joy. Weather is a hassle but I oddly really enjoy riding in traffic, and once I get going it’s infinitely better than the tube in the mornings.

  12. Hannah 08/04/2011 at 10:29 am #

    I started cycling when I realised that living 5 miles from my work, it would would be faster and free if I cycled. I then moved to live 9 miles from work, and continued. I stopped for a brief while, but OH MY GOD the weight gain. I’m back on it now and just love the exercise (and weight loss), the free commute, and equally not having to get on a sweaty tube twice a day. I think I’m really lucky in that for £23 per year, I get completely secure bike parking and use of showers at work.
    I’m now using my bike more outside of my commute, putting together outfits that I can cycle in, without being the lycra-clad idiot at the table whilst having lucnh with friends. This saves me more money, gives me more exercise and also lets me explore some new routes and see more of London.
    Days like today make it very easy to love cycling, don’t they?

  13. Dave 08/04/2011 at 10:30 am #

    I took up cycling again because my wife wanted my younger daughter to learn to ride a bike and thought it would encourage her if I rode along. I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was 12, although I loved riding then, I wasn’t that enthusiastic about taking it up again.

    Blimey, what a Epihany I had!

    Since getting back on a bike those few years ago I have grown to love cycling more and more and I’m now on my third bike after starting on hybrids, I now have a road bike.

  14. Bluenose 08/04/2011 at 10:34 am #

    Aged 8 – I was a kid and wanted a bike like everythiung else
    Aged 40 – I wanted to do something with my kids.
    Aged 57 – I wanted to lose weight and keep fit

    • Bluenose 08/04/2011 at 10:34 am #

      I meant like everyone else

  15. Gaz 08/04/2011 at 10:36 am #

    I started off doing dirt jumps and off road trials. Then when I got a job in the city and hated my journey which consists of Tram, Train and Bus. It was just logical to switch over to the road and start cycling to work.

  16. Kim 08/04/2011 at 10:48 am #

    I never really stopped, but cycled more after I gave up the car.

  17. philcycle 08/04/2011 at 10:51 am #

    Can’t ever remember being without a bike – but haven’t always ridden!
    Just to get out and about as a youngster.
    To save fuel getting to work during the Suez Crisis.
    Runabout local transport all my life.
    Local charity ride led to purchase of a tandem, and leisure riding took off – regular rides with local CTC group and Tandem Club; holidays with blind cyclists; tours etc.
    I just love being out doors, the peaceful countryside, and the physical challenge.

  18. Pete 08/04/2011 at 10:54 am #

    I started London cycling as a result of immense jealousy!
    A girl in the office over a year ago started cycling to work, she would turn up feeling good and fresh for the day… having got up much later from bed! It was also clear she was saving a tonne of money as her sandwiches were getting bigger, a sort of reward for burning off the calories pre-work.

    The new Year (2010) came around and I thought Ill give it a go… knowing from my track record of Trapeze/fencing/gym lessons this would not last very long and I would revert back to crampt sweaty tube changes at Victoria to then be crushed at Oxford Circus (why do people do it?).

    With my pride in not being able to commit to anything past a couple of weeks, I bought myself a cheap halfords bike roughly a £100…

    and LOVED IT!

    There really isnt a better way to get around the city, I am by no means a fitness fanatic, but the energy from cycling is really something else. By April I had started reading blogs like London Cyclist and by June I was cycling the London Bikeathon much to my friends amazement and raising a whole load of money I’d never normally part take in.

    By summer enough was enough and I needed speed and wanted the look of a pro, so using the Cycle to Work scheme I bought a beauty of a Specialized road bike and that will take me to Paris this summer… the whole 220 odd miles! (London to Paris)

    I’ve been riding now for over a year and am so pro cycling its unreal, I sold my old faithful just the other week for a cheap price in order to inspire a friend to share my passion… he is already browsing the catalogues for his first upgrade!

    I sound like a geek, but I am a firm believer that if I can do it, anyone can, and with weather like this there really isnt any excuse.


  19. carolyn 08/04/2011 at 10:58 am #

    I had my first proper bike on my 6th birthday and 57 years later I still enjoy cycling my 20ml round commute to work :}

  20. Ian Houghton 08/04/2011 at 10:59 am #

    Cycled all over the place in my teens, but once working up in London beckoned i knocked it on the head for about 30 years….Then last year, high blood pressure beckoned & since I’m not the ‘Gym’ type & coupled with fed up paying a grand a year to travel on a hot, overcrowded tube train, I took advantage of the Company ‘Cycle To Work’ scheme & am thoroughly enjoying it (Yes, even cycling through Westminster! 🙂 )

  21. Barry 08/04/2011 at 11:06 am #

    My big brother taught me to ride his bike. I had to put my right leg through the bike below the top bar as I couldn’t reach to ride ordinarily.
    Mum saw me cruising our hiil top street and I soon had a new RED bike of my own on which to whizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz down the gravel hill! Never looked back since then. Beyond old school! Cheers.

  22. bfg 08/04/2011 at 11:15 am #

    I cycled all the time as a child and teenager, but then went to university, put on loads of weight and stopped. After a few years of an unhealthy lifestyle, paying loads and waiting loads for the bus, i bought a cheap bike and started riding again. My weight went from 22 stone to 15.5 stone (over the course of a few years, i didn’t want to lose it too quickly), and i use my bike for all my transport and commuting now. I also regularly go out off-roading on the Purbecks, for 30 miles at a time. I would never not have a bike now

  23. Matt 08/04/2011 at 11:18 am #

    I was an avid mountain biker in my teenage years, but didn’t really ride much as an adult until I moved to London and realised how crazy expensive public transport was.

    My commute takes about the same length of time on the bike as it does via public transport and it’s more enjoyable on two wheels.

  24. Tommi 08/04/2011 at 11:25 am #

    Got my first bike when I was maybe 5. Except for my first year in university my school/work was always less than 10km away, most everyone I knew cycled or walked to school from spring to fall except on rainy days. As fallback we had pretty good bus connections, never even considered getting a car for myself. Oh yeah, this was in Finland.

    After moving to London it took me a year to start cycling again, just couldn’t take not cycling anymore. After experiencing two excuses of winter and so called rain I decided to cycle all year round.

  25. Fabian 08/04/2011 at 11:31 am #

    Wanted to avoid the rush hour gang bang, and then discovered it was fun and by far the best way to get around!

  26. Mike 08/04/2011 at 11:35 am #

    Everyone did when I was a kid. My dad did and always had. It just seemed the obvious thing to do – and it came with such a feeling of freedom. I’ve been cycling ever since really. I’ve got a car ridden motorbikes over the years etc etc. But none of them come close to the feeling of empowerment that a bicycle provides. No oil – no petrol etc. Subject to how you’re feeling you can just go on all day – and you don’t have to stick to choking roads. And being totally mechanical a bicycle is also totally understandable whilst at the sqame time being greater than the sum of its parts – the most effoc ient form of transport available in terms of energy in and energy out.

  27. Bernie 08/04/2011 at 11:37 am #

    Don’t know why, but I learnt to cycle when I was about 5. Once I stopped falling off it was great fun!

    Cycling enables independent travel when you are too young to drive, so its a good thing to get into as a teenager. My friends and I used to cycle out into the countryside. Again great fun.

    Got into mountain biking and that was also great fun.

    Now cycling to work keeps me fit, saves me money, reduces my carbon footprint and puts me in a good frame of mind for the day.

  28. Bethan 08/04/2011 at 11:47 am #

    Cycled as a kid – natch, then gave it up for a car for a few years. When the car got nicked by joyriders, it took so long for the police to locate it, a friend loaned me his bike in the meantime. I’ve never looked back and iIhaven’t owned a car for 15 years now! I had a brief period of illness where I was forced to take the bus and it was so slow, I had forgotten how tedious public transport can be. I’ve still got that old bike I was loaned – it’s been around the world with me and is now ‘retired’ but I’ll never part with it.

  29. ARu 08/04/2011 at 12:58 pm #

    I had an uncle who encoraged my older brother, who in turn encouraged me. The significant thing was my first “serious” bike, that was a “Flying Scot Continental” still a lovely bike now, but a real belter in the sixties.
    I still have a FS (another one, as the first was stolen) and a Colnago Bititan. Part of the fun is keeping these older bikes active and it is a great way to get around this island.

  30. Oxtail69 08/04/2011 at 1:27 pm #

    I commuted on the tube for 10 years from 15 miles N/West of London into Moorgate daily (about 50 mins on a good day), and was sick of it, so bought a motorbike.

    I then had about 10 years of having the freedom of motorbiking those 15 miles each way whatver the weather (about 40 mins on anyday) but realised whilst I loved it, I wasn’t getting any slimmer!

    So from 3 weeks ago, I’ve begun cycling my 15 miles each way into the city on a knackered old road bike (50 from Ebay plus about 100 for new wheels/brakes). Bearing in mind I’ve only been doing it for 3 weeks, and am alternating cycling with motorbike commuting, it takes 1 hr 6 mins door to door coming in, and 1 hr 10 mins going home. LOVING IT AND MY SUIT FITS BETTER ALREADY!!!

  31. David 08/04/2011 at 1:36 pm #

    i started to exercise my sons. This exhausted them and reduced the time they weere belting merry hell out of each other. Thus reducing the time my wife shouted at me

  32. James 08/04/2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Got tired of hearing “All lines are running a good service” while crammed on to a tube platform with a few hundred other people waiting for broken down train to be moved. Compared the cost of tube fares to a bike (wow!) and thought about how many people the world over manage just fine getting around on one. (hello huge chunks of Asia).

    Even starting in the lead up to winter didn’t take the edge off. Now I’m dissapointed on days I can’t take the bike for some reason. It really opens up the city for you.

  33. Henz 08/04/2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I had no choice about starting to cycle, my parents taught me while I was at Primary School. Since then I have cycled too and from school, university and work. It probably helped that my dad is an obsessive cyclist and always brought our bikes on holiday.

    It’s less a case of when I decided to start, and more not deciding to stop.

  34. K8 08/04/2011 at 1:57 pm #

    After moving to London, I wanted to give up smoking and get fit. I bought a lovely second hand Eddie Merckx mixte frame bike in 1981. My first cycle ride was back to East London through the Rotherhithe Tunnel.

    Well, I survived. I haven’t been able to stop ever since, going from strength to strength and bike to bike. I now go out with a lovely group – the London Imps – and we cycle all over Essex and Kent, France and – soon – Spain. I am fortunate that the Rotherhithe experience didn’t put me off for good.

  35. Jeff 08/04/2011 at 2:13 pm #

    In terms of commuting, I got one too many parking tickets on a car that I really wasn’t using. Donated the car, bought a bike and have been riding in since (though this year was my first Chicago winter biking every day). Could not be happier!

  36. Nick 08/04/2011 at 2:41 pm #

    I started cycling aged 50 when I started to see signs for cycle routes as I was driving around Birmingham in my car. I presented a radio show so had few traffic problems. I bought a cheapy bike from Halfords (I had to take it back 3 times as the pedals kept coming loose!)

    The first time I did the 7 miles to the studio – up a big hill – it took me nearly an hour. 12 months later after cycling two or three times a week that was down to 20 mins. I also lost 5 stone! And then there was that strange feeling of well being after a ride…

    I’m discovering London now. Cycling is an almost organic experience after years of being cooped up in cars and public transport. If you’re new to the idea, give it a go. It really will effect your outlook on life.

  37. Jane 08/04/2011 at 3:36 pm #

    I got talked into doing the London to Brighton bike ride about 12 years ago and I started training at lunch times along the river at Hammersmith. Totally fell in love with cycling and thoroughly enjoyed the L2B. A few months later, when my son started school and I didn’t have to drive him to nursery every day on my way in to work, I started to commute the 7.5 miles. Not only did it save me a fortune, it cut down my journey time from anything up to 2 hours to 45 minutes – every time, regardless of weather, bomb threats, tube strikes, or anything else that messes with public transport, and I lost about three stone to boot! I changed jobs a couple of years ago and my commute is now only 3.5 miles each way – so this year I’ll have to do a bit of extra training for the L2B – yes, I have done it every year since!

  38. Jon 08/04/2011 at 4:15 pm #

    I think I was unusual in that I got to the age of 50 having never been on a bike. I decided that it was high time that I gave it a go, so I got my wife to buy me a bike for Christmas. The bloke Richmond Cycles gave me a strange look, but combined it with excellent advice and sold me a very suitable hybrid.
    Cue two months of wobbling around back streets and falling off in par parks at night. Still, it didn’t take too long to get the knack and by the end of March I was commuting the 6 miles to work. Perhaps I’m a bit thick-headed, but I’ve never found london traffic too intimidating, but then I am very cautious and cringe at the antics of some of my fellow cyclists.
    Two and a half years later and I’m trying to decide whether to buy a more expensive bike or whether to get my trusty, but now very creaky, hybrid thoroughly overhauled.

  39. Sarah 08/04/2011 at 7:41 pm #

    i never really rode a bike as a kid apart from round our (tiny) garden, as we lived on a really busy main road. I didnt go near a bike until mid last year when loads of people at work started getting bikes through the Cycle to Work scheme and i realsied how much time and money cycling would save. I got myself a bike, then got some free adult cycle training through Tower Hamlets which was brilliant (once I’d addressed the initial embarrassment), and then a bike buddying session where one of the trainers cycled with me from home to work and now I commute 6 miles each way every day and love it, it sets me right up for the day ahead, and I dread having to take public transport when the weather’s too miserable or I’ve got too much stuff to cycle with. Looking forward to doing my first London to Brighton too!

  40. Charlie 08/04/2011 at 7:49 pm #

    I was looking for a solution for my backpain when the local swimming pools were just not up to scratch. Remembering my teenage years, I got myself a cheap 2nd handhand bike to see if somehow that could solve my issue. Haven’t look back since!
    Still find it strange that when my back is causing me problems that (once I can get on the saddle and wipe away any tears of pain) after a good workout the back seems to work itself back into shape.

    I have cycled every weekend since, through rain, snow for more than 10 years on a racer or a mountain bike. I wonder if I’ll ever stop…..

  41. Tom Bracegirdle 08/04/2011 at 8:39 pm #

    Like most I was taught to ride by my dad at the local park, the same park where I rode my tricycle around when I was like 2. As the years progressed I again like most was given the bikes of my older sibling when they grew out of them. I remember racing my sister round the garden on them, mine was her old red one (the ferarri) hers was her new blue and silver one (the merc). we’d pretend we were racing car drivers, or at least I would. A couple of years later she grew out of the blue one and I got it. I remember being super jealous as she got a ‘giant’ yellow and black mountain bike. A couple of years after that guess what…I got given that and she got a new ‘specialized’ red mountain bike, yet again I had jealousy cursing through my veins. The first ever brand new bike I got was a yellow BMX bike from the local bike shop. (back then I thought it was well cool, now I just remember it for being impossibly hard to ride, uncomfy and slow) never the less I loved it. The first road bike. It was a silver ‘carrera’. I got for christmas in 2008 and was chuffed to bits! Dad was probably more chuffed than me because it meant he then had to go and get a new fancy ‘bianchi’ road bike so we could go on rides together. Mum was not best pleased (if only she knew that was just the start). A couple of years ago I upgraded to a ‘rondelli’ frame that was red whit and black, soon after I joined Warrington road club and started racing properly in 2010. I’ve just been saving up since September when I got my first job and have spent the last half a year buying, shipping and building my dream TT bike (Its a beaut) ‘ribbble’ aero frame with planet X wheels and sram groupset. rides like a dream and costs more than most of my friends cars. The racing is starting to get serious, TTing’ every weekend and soon to be racing mid weeks, loving every minute of it. Aged 17 now and hoping to go far with the sport, honestly dont know what I’d do without cycling. I think it was hard-wired into me from birth, to anyone reading this, whether its road racing, city commuting, family mountain biking, whatever it be… enjoy your ride and livestrong!
    Tom @bracey111

  42. John90 08/04/2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Been riding off and on since I was a kid but I went back to it a couple of years ago when a touch of arthritis from a football injury meant I could no longer run to work regularly. I now do the ten mile round trip commute and ride for fun at the weekend and days off. I sometimes wonder if I would go back to running if my knee was up to it and I don’t know the answer to that, but I love my bike and learning new bike skills (if you see someone trying to trackstand a black Marin Point Reyes around Denmark Hill, Camberwell & Tower Bridge, say hello).

    As others have said, once you have an alternative to the train, bus and car there is no turning back.

  43. Iain 08/04/2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Growing up in the Scottish Borders a bike was rather handy, I found the tranistion to my first proper grown up bike (a heavy Raleigh mountain bike) difficult though, think just the sheer weight was off putting) but once I got the hang of it, there was no looking back, summer holidays clocking up 2000 miles on the quiet rural roads, where there’s more danger from pheasants than cars! The I moved to Edinburgh for uni and the bike stayed at home… Several years later, and at the other end of the country, fed up with overcrowded swimming pools andI got a hybrid in Halfords sale, I guess 5k miles is good for the life of it… New bike from my parents for Christmas, and it’ll clock up 2k miles tomorrow, loving cycling to work, even if it is virtually 50 miles a day, feel more alive and sleep much better, and I’m a bit slimmer too (not that I wasn’t slim before) the freedom to go places when you want, running early, hearing the birds singing, catching insects (nearly ate a bee on the way home tonight…) You see things from a bike that you won’t from anything else. Who wasn’t happy to be rolling along at 10-15mpg this afternoon with the breeze keeping you cool while all those people crammed onto hot airless buses or even worse the tube!?

  44. Nicole 08/04/2011 at 9:31 pm #

    I’ve always had a bike, from my first hand-me-down aged 9 to my current stable of four. I started commuting everyday when the parking permit at my railway station reached the £1k mark (yes, really) and I thought f**k that. Never looked back. I love it, even in the snow.

    I cycled home in a snowstorm earlier this year when nothing else was on the road except me and all I could hear was the snow softly falling and that delicious crunch the snow makes when flattened under the wheel. One of the best moments…

    The main thing for me is to be under my own steam at all times, free from queing, from squashing, from delays, and out in the fresh air for a good portion of my day. I’m teaching my children that they can get wherever they want to and it’s cool too. They’re as fit as anything and not afraid of a hill and I think it’s just brilliant to see them roaming around on two wheels.

  45. Julio 08/04/2011 at 11:05 pm #

    Am 32 years old and I’ve always had a bike since 3 years old, but a start seriously with my dad and sister at the age of 15. In Panamá (Latinamerican Country) is dangerous ride bike from home to work but we have nice ride in the rainforest. Every weekend with the bike club we spend the sunday morning with ours bike and friends, nothing to profesional but we always have fun.

  46. Peter 09/04/2011 at 5:18 am #

    Like the previous few posts I have always had a bike and always take the opportunity to go for a ride. I had a bit of a quiet spell during my University days but have always had a bike.

    Now when ever I go for a job interview one of the most important questions for me is “Do you have showers and some where to store a bike?”, I have even turned down a job because they didn’t have any shower facilities and I would have had to lock my bike on the street (wasn’t the best of companies anyway).

    On top of commuting, in the last few years I have done London to Paris and John O’Groats to Lands End and being on a bike was fantastic way to take in the countryside as you get to see, hear and smell things you would not otherwise see if you were in a car.

    For me cycling is about the enjoyment of getting out and the independence and with all the extra benefits whats there not to like.

  47. Keith 09/04/2011 at 10:57 am #

    I started thinking about getting a bike after 2 years living in london, when the tube and buses were starting to get to me. But I put it off for a while due to fear of the traffic, which is reinforced by the reaction you get from many people when you suggest you might start (people who also don’t cycle, so don’t actually know)

    The event that made me finally buy a bike, was a trip to see a friend in Linconshire. He had a spare bike in his shed, so we decide to go for a ride in the country side. Hadn’t cycled since i was about 11, but i couldn’t beleive how much fun it was!! I got that almost giddy feeling you get when you’re on a rollercoaster. It was also great to see that cars and vans on the road waited at junctions for us and generally were aware we were there… I had a weird idea in my head that they’d ignore a cyclist like you’d ignore a pidgeon on the pavement… and it’d be up to me to get out of their way.

    We cycled to a lovely lake a few miles out town, which we would never had bothered to walk to, yet i wasn’t ven ot of breath. we had some lunch, cycled back, and I was sold!

    Bought a bike when i got back to london, and after a month of getting my confidence up, i’ve never looked back. 3 years later, and my oyster card is getting dusty.
    Happy cycling!

  48. John 09/04/2011 at 11:05 am #

    As a teenager I cycled a bit around my parents’ house although if I chalked up 5 miles I considered that quite an achievement. As an adult having moved to London I thought cycling would be tantamount to suicide so never even considered it. Besides, by then I’d gained enough weight that I didn’t want to wear Spandex even if only for humanitarian reasons.

    I needed to get around faster to pursue my hobby of geocacing. I’d done everything within sensible walking distance of home and didn’t want to drive because of parking issues. So I spoke to the local bike shop about bikes and ended up with a mountain bike. Now I’ve hybridized the bike so it looks like a serious mountain bike but works better on tarmac than mud and still love it.

    For good measure I’ve lost a lot of weight, gained a lot of fitness and even with fat tyres on a bike not built for speed I find that the bike is faster than public transport for journeys up to about 5-8 miles. Some day I want to try a fast road bike, but for now don’t have space to keep another one.

  49. wee folding bike 09/04/2011 at 2:38 pm #

    Learned when I was 3 on a second hand Tri-Ang with fixed wheel & solid tyres. This would have been ’69-’70.

    Lived in Ayrshire so by the time I was in secondary school it was how I got places, including school.

    Went to a couple of Universities including 3 years in London where I cycled every day.

    From ’80 to ’93 I used a ’51 Claud Butler Avant Coureur Special. It’s still in my dad’s loft.

    Saved money on travelling and got a Dave Yates, Campag racing bike in ’90 followed in ’92 by a Dave Yates mtb, a Longstaff trike in ’95.

    There was a short break.

    Then a Brompton in M6R in ’01, an S6L in ’06 and an S2L-X in ’09. Last year I got a Pashley Roadster for the winter grit which plays merry hell with Bromptons.

    In the very depth of last winter the Longstaff kept going when nobody else did. It’s a two wheel drive.

    In some ways I’m a little envious of the people who discovered cycling later in life. It’s always been there so I didn’t get to experience it anew as an adult.

  50. Dunc 09/04/2011 at 4:04 pm #

    I had a bike at university 6 years ago, which was my Dad’s and pretty rubbish. I treated it terribly too and was an awful cyclist.

    Then a few of my friends in London started talking to me about cycling and in May 2010 I bought a road bike. I never looked back. I realised how much I would save and how much fun I would have. I did the Dunwich Dynamo (120 miles overnight) in July and was staggered that I could ride that far.

    I now have a touring bike after my first one was stolen, and I try to get a 40-50 mile ride in most weekends. One thing that I don’t seem to have improved on is hills. I am useless!

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