On cycling and being a novice…

one of my initial pandas, and still my favourite :)

Recently both on Dottie‘s and Velouria‘s blogs discussions about being a ‘novice’, writing a beginner’s blog and all that have proven very interesting.

Dottie describes how her “lovely commute” is seen by newly-starting-cyclists as quite daunting and rather scary… traffic, cars blocking cycle paths, doors swinging open and the like. Sounds familiar? She goes on to say that she has now ‘absorbed’ the challenges of urban cycling and doesn’t notice them anymore… cycling still wins over. I completely agree with her, and equally I still remember how daunting it felt, at the beginning for me, the mere idea of cycling down Oxford Road.

Velouria, similarly, discusses the pros of beginners’ blogs on cycling and how other beginners’ find them more interesting and inspiring that the expert ones. And again I completely agree on that.

Perhaps it is a woman’s point of view, and if so then there’s nothing to be ashamed of. When I started to think that I too could get on a bike and go from A to B, and that with a little confidence I could conquer the scary traffic, I found huge inspirations from such blogs.

Dottie and Trisha’s blog – Let’s Go Ride a Bike – was pivotal in making me think that it was indeed possible! You can find all my favourite blogs on the right hand side, all written by people, who live, breath and love cycling :)

In all the beginners’ blogs that I read, and this one that I write I am also acutely aware that we are now moving slightly pass the “first steps” in our own experiences, and this is why I share Dottie’s experience of a “lovely bike commute”, when to others I know it may look rather ‘suicidal’ ;) [words of others, not mine]

To take that step from even enjoying your bike at week ends, in the safety of green cycleways: parks, disused railtracks (think of the Fallowfield Loop etc), to taking to the road is a HUGE step. Once it’s taken and your confidence grow it’s easy to forget what a HUGE step that was and think that everyone can do it. This is why I truly believe in supporting and promoting segregated cycling infrastructure.

I would love to see a cycling infrastructure system that encourages, rather than discourages, EVERYONE to give transport cycling a go.

When I get told: “but it will take too long”, “but our existing road systems won’t accommodate them”, “but I don’t want to lose my right to cycle on the road”, it saddens me, because to me this sounds like there’s no willingness to open up cycling to everyone! Why keep this wonderful ‘secret’ amongst few. How can we possibly not imagine how much more pleasant, for many different reasons, our cities and towns would feel and be like to live in, if we had less cars on the roads and more people cycling and walking.

Yes, it will take time and yes, we will need to be clever and creative in working with what you’ve got (and no-one ever said anything about being banned from roads)… but surely it’s worth the effort?

As William Blake said:

What is now proved was once only imagined.

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6 responses to “On cycling and being a novice…

    • ;) lol! A tad draconian, but I see your point. I feel that if people perceived cycling as safe and ‘easy’ they would indeed cycle more and consequently be more conscientious drivers too…

  1. I am extremely shy and reserved and really value my privacy. But I decided to open up my life a little bit and invite others to converse with me both online and in person using the bicycle as a pretext to start a discussion. I do sense that many do want to try out this riding a bike thing, but the idea is intimidating and many others give them scary advice about riding that may not even apply to them.

    I hope that by showing my own vulnerability, and humanness people will learn that I am a human just like them, captable of making mistakes, and taking occasional chances, but overall…I just have a desire to be happy.

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