My first foray into London cycling

There are just seven weekends until the London to Brighton Night Ride and I’m hideously underprepared and out of shape. Ok – so maybe saying that I’m hideously out of shape is an exaggeration, but (and there’s always a but) when you have to use a safety-pin to hold your  work trousers together because you can’t zip it up,  it’s safe to say I need to get back on that bike!

That’s exactly what I did today. All 8.57miles around London to be precise. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy cycling. Then I got onto the busy and perilous roads of the city and realised how lucky I was when I was cycling around the Oxfordshire countryside last year. It wasn’t so much enjoyable as it was trying to stay alive on the mean roadways of London.

The reason why I haven’t hopped back on my bike is because, quite frankly, I was scared. The thought of negotiating several lanes that split off in various directions while cycling alongside red double-decker buses and non-friendly drivers left me in a cold sweat. It was easier to go swimming or put it off for the next day and the day after that.

My end destination was High Street Kensington. I work here and thought I might cycle to work a few times a week. I get to save a few quid and get fit!  The aim of today was trying to find a (safe) route. There were several ways to get to work which seemed to be straightforward and it was. Then I hit Hammersmith and had to negotiate a large roundabout. The problem was, I didn’t know which road I was supposed to cycle on to let alone which lane I had to get into. At this point, staying alive was my main priority, so hopped off my bike, found a map and walked to the right road.

Other than the Hammersmith fiasco and cycling very close to cars, vans and larger vehicles all vying to get into various lanes, it wasn’t too bad. But then, it wasn’t rush hour. I think I’ll need a few more dry runs before I decide to take the plunge and cycle to work.

Photo by Tom Anderson http://www.flickr.com/photos/twic/2844493252/

Photo by Tom Anderson

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