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Cycling commuters don’t have it easy.
Weaving through traffic, dodging pedestrians, and trying to get to work on time are all part of a day in the life for us.
It can be a jungle during rush hour; sometimes, we feel lucky to make it out in one piece.
We take a look at 10 secret thoughts that every cyclist has during the ride to and from the office.
1. Should I Have Taken The Car Today?
We get it; it’s dark, it’s cold, and you’re tired. We don’t blame you.
Every cyclist has at least once questioned their choice to cycle to work. Whether it’s due to a taxi blocking a bike lane, the weather, or just pure idleness, at some point, we’ve all wondered, ‘ Why didn’t I drive today? ‘
Perhaps the traffic isn’t so bad, and you think you’d make reasonable time in the car. Or, more likely, you’re just missing the cozy comforts of heating or air conditioning.
It can be a recurring thought for the less seasoned cyclist, but push through. We didn’t choose this life because it’s easy.
2. Why Did I Shower Before?
Cycling through the morning traffic can be heavy exercise. Before you know it, you’ve started to work up quite a sweat.
Now, this could be a problem. See, you’ve planned out your morning routine to the minute to maximize your time in bed. You had a quick wash at home, and you thought you’d have a relaxed ride to work and arrive smelling like a daisy.
But once the pedals start and the heart rate begins its ascent, the symphony of sweat begins, and your personal ‘perfume’ takes over.
And don’t even mention the hair. That carefully sculpted do was either ruined by a helmet or the wind. You start to wonder why I even bother making myself presentable before the ride in the first place.
3. I Wish Drivers Knew Bike Signals
Occasionally, amongst all the chaos, we’ll think: I wish drivers knew bike hand signals.
It’s not too much to ask for. A harmonious coexistence on the road, where the spoken word makes way for a simple hand gesture, and a shared language is built.
But rather than a mutual understanding and a synchronized dance of arm motions, you instead find that drivers don’t know why you’re flapping your hands in the air.
At least you tried. You did your best to let everyone know you were slowing down, and if you’re lucky, you didn’t get the dreaded honk of disapproval or, worse still, rear-ended in the process.
4. I’m Doing My Bit
You’ll usually pat yourself on the back after a tough ride, and you should. You’ve done your bit.
Through the burn in your legs and the ache in your bum, a sense of eco-friendly euphoria washes over you. You don’t brag about it- you’re above that- but you tell yourself that every rotation of the pedals is a step towards reducing your carbon footprint.
It’s a quiet sense of pride. After all, it’s hard to share your accomplishments with your friends. Frankly, they don’t care. Neither do your colleagues. They should, though, because you’re doing it for them, and everyone else on the planet, for that matter. What a selfless person you are, if only more people were like you.
5. Health is Wealth
While we feel pretty good about ourselves when it comes to doing our bit for the environment, we’re also pretty chuffed that we’re looking after our minds and bodies.
By choosing active transport, we’re killing two birds with one stone. Exercising and commuting at the same time? Piece of cake.
Both a two-wheeled therapist and a personal trainer, our bikes are exceptional when it comes down to it.
“Health is wealth, and I’m investing in it with every pedal stroke.” Even if my legs are killing me.
6. Why Didn’t I Wear My Waterproof?
It’s a poorly kept secret, but every cyclist has at least once failed to dress for the occasion. Maybe we thought we’d get home before those heavy showers set in. Either way, once that first raindrop falls, we start pedaling like our lives depended on it.
Despite what we might think, the weather app isn’t conspiring against us. But the worst part is how we try to shoulder it off.
Finding ourselves without a jacket, we’ll inevitably arrive at work completely drenched. But rather than conceding that we made a mistake, we’ll instead boast about feeling alive and having ‘skin that’s waterproof.’ Of course, nobody believes us.
Secretly, though, we’ll all be thinking the same thing. Why the **** didn’t I wear my waterproof?
7. Why is Everyone in Such a Rush?
The constant passive honking, the aggressive driving, the look of stress on everyone’s faces. Or even the scramble into the underground, where people practically fall over each other fighting for the prime standing spot.
As a cyclist, I’ve mastered the art of leisurely travel. I set my own pace and can still, more often than not, beat the traffic. What’s the hurry, after all?
Watching the rat race while feeling like you’re not part of it brings satisfaction. I’m feeling pretty smug, even if I am secretly racing other cyclists. God forbid anyone should overtake me.
8. It’s Probably Time to Get My Bike Serviced
Cruising through the bike lane and the rhythmic hum of my wheels underneath me. My trusty steed, my workhorse. It brings me so much joy.
It’s probably about time I showed it a little more love. If anyone needs a spa day, it’s my bike. Now that I think about it, the chain’s been protesting against smooth gear shifts, the brakes aren’t quite as assertive as they were, and the front wheels are looking dodgy.
Of course, I’d love a new bike; who wouldn’t? But maybe it’s time I invested in the one I already have.
I promise to bring it in for a pit stop and a check-up on the weekend. The absolute latest is the weekend after. If I remember, that is.
9. Why Doesn’t My City Build Some Decent Infrastructure?
For the most part, we like cycling to work. It’s great exercise, and it’s pretty efficient.
But once we reach the point in our route where the bike lane mysteriously vanishes or conveniently moves to the other side of the road without warning, it begins to occur to us: Why doesn’t this city build some decent bike infrastructure?
Is it too much to ask for a bike lane that’s actually separate from the road? Or perhaps just for one that doesn’t double as a car’s loading zone? Or even somewhere secure to leave my bike so that I don’t have to worry about its safety all day?
Surely this can’t all cost that much? And who doesn’t want to see more people cycling? Maybe one day we’ll embrace the cycling revolution like Copenhagen, or Amsterdam, or even Seville. Until then, we’ll be lucky to get to work without another near miss with an impatient driver.
10. I’m Glad
Despite all these other thoughts and regrets, alongside the wind and the rain, the traffic and the noise, and the lack of parking spots outside the office, we’re secretly glad.
At the end of the day, there’s no better way to get to work. Sure, it has its inconveniences, but we’d choose it over the tube any day of the week.
It can be frustrating, but it makes us feel alive. It’s mostly a pleasure, so why don’t more people cycle?
It’s easy to complain, but when it comes down to it, we’re grateful that we can cycle so much. We could hope for more, but until then, we’ll keep dodging the potholes and parking cars like we’re playing Frogger.
That is, until we get a puncture.