Perhaps it’s just part of the ageing process, but I’m finding myself increasingly tempted to ride an Audax event – the long distance cycling discipline favoured by cheerfully eccentric men with beards and sandals – for not only is there a minimum speed that their rides are required to be completed in, but there’s also a maximum speed too. Racing is quite clearly frowned upon.
Living in a city like London, the pace of life can sometimes seem unrelentingly hectic. Commuting by bike should provide a chance to escape the shoulder-to-shoulder rat race of an over crowded tube, train or bus, yet instead it so often degenerates into just another race to or from work.
A common reason given by commuters why they choose the bike over more sedentary forms of transport are the health benefits – cycling helps keep you fit, it saves on gym membership, a way of squeezing a workout into a busy day. I’m not denying these things might be true, but it sort of misses the point. Commuting by bike should be about pleasure – not speed, time, fitness or training. There could be no other more infuriating environment to choose for your daily exercise than the rush hour streets of London – clogged with traffic, crammed with junctions, crossings, roadworks, u-turning taxis, snaking bendy busses – as soon as you’ve got your heart rate into that target training zone you’ll be grabbing the brakes as the lights turn to red. Read the rest of this entry »