Until recently, I’d always thought that cycling in London was the preserve of the fearless and the foolhardy. The few times I’d cycled in the city, I’d found it a nerve-shredding experience. I’d be pedaling happily along, turn my head to check behind me as one should, only to have a bus shave the tip of my nose as it thundered past at seemingly far greater speeds than I thought buses could attain. That was enough for me.
When braver, fitter, slimmer friends sought to encourage me to follow their lead by jumping onto the two wheels again I always trotted out the same old lines: the weather was too unreliable; that, as a teacher, I had too many books and other teachery things to carry to work; and that weaving in amongst the 73s and 38s along Essex Road was akin to smearing myself in fish guts and jumping into a tank full of great white sharks and piranhas. People would laugh at my worries but nothing would dissuade me from the certainty of my inevitable doom by a London bendy bus should I ever make the switch to pedal power.
But all that has changed
Er, by leaving London and cycling somewhere else!