Actually, one of the most pertinent reasons is that I hate cycling up/down Bethnal Green road, it’s too busy, too many buses and I never felt safe doing so. Luckily when the Barclays bikes first made their appearrance, the closest docking station to my house was by Brick Lane, which is a nice 25 minute walk from my house or a 10 minute bus journey and most importantly, meant I didn’t have to be on a bike for any part of Bethnal Green road.
However, last week, while on the no. 8 bus, I noticed the bikes had finally arrived on my side of the park, and less than three streets away from the Terrace. Later, coming back from town, as it was a particularly nice day, I decided to cycle back with the view to dock the bike at Brick Lane and to re-hire one at the botton of Bethnal Green road, thus cutting out the bit that scared me most. However it didn’t work like that. I feel so much safer on Boris bikes, they’re built like tanks and I kept riding all the way home, never once worrying. And as such, I’ve cycled almost every day since, and if not the whole way, at least half.
The whole journey from W1 where I work to home/E3 takes a tad over thirty minutes, and considering I’m so unfit and out of shape, I’m rather pleased about this. When I leave work, I want to cycle home and some mornings, I actually want to cycle there! In addition, I feel safer on them and for some reason, I feel freer with these hire bikes, like it’s less of a chore and something I should do. Now I want to cycle more, although I’ve started to miss my Pashley enormously and am starting to wonder if I had it back in my possession, if I’d be cycling as much. I’m not convinced, what I love best about Boris bikes* is that for the most part, when I have a yen to cycle, I can find one. And therein lies the joy. No commitment and no worries about it getting stolen. And if I’m feeling really lazy, or if it’s raining, I can always get the tube home!
But for now, especially with our incredibly mild March, I’m enjoying every minute I’m on a bike and hope it continues.
It’s really heavy, no, really heavy. I live on a Victorian terrace with 12 external steps leading from the front door to the pavement and it’s too heavy for me to carry up/down.
We’re no longer allowed to leave bikes in the communal hallway.
I was unable to find an insurance company to insure me to leave her outside at night and to be honest, I don’t want to. Even leaving her during broad daylight used to worry me. A few years ago, I had breakfast in the very lovely cafe in Victoria Park less than 20 feet away from her, yet when I returned, someone had tried (and failed) to rip the basket off her leaving me with a damaged basket. They really needn’t have bothered as the basket simply unbuckles.
I sometimes wonder if maybe I should just sell my bicycle and buy either a Finnish Jopo or a British Wren, as both are lighter and a bit less ubiquitous than my Pashley which seem to be a dime a dozen these days.
Yes, that is the Olympic stadium and Anish Kapoor’s helter skelter sculpture/viewing platform/whatever in the background of the photograph.. I really do live that close too it all *le sigh*
*The bikes are mostly known as Boris bikes due to them being launched under his tenure as Mayor of London.
My beloved Pashley is female, in fact, she’s called Madeleine, so named after Madeleine Elster from Hitchcock’s Vertigo. She’s named a such because after collecting her from Chamberlaine Cycles in Kentish Town, I thought it would be safer to avoid traffic/roads as much as possible, so I cycled home along the the tow path. What I didn’t realise is that I’d spend the bulk of the journey worrying I’d end up in Regent’s Canal as the bike seemed unnaturally drawn to the water. Thankfully I didn’t but the name remains.
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