Joining the Commuter Club

Our cycling adventure is just around the corner and Mat and I are currently in our final months of saving, selling and planning. Come July, I will be moving out of my current home and selling the majority of my belongings. So far, a few loved items have already moved in with their new owners, including my vinyl player, TV & bed! I guess this suits my minimal lifestyle but I’ll sure miss my Bruce Springsteen vinyl collection. To add to this, I have just sold my little commuter car which means that my main method of transport is now by bike. This was quite a nerve racking decision at first, but I have to say I love being a full-time commuter.

I work a 13km round trip from home so my daily commute only takes 25 minutes each way. I pedal through cycle paths, a few busy roads, down by the river then over York’s racecourse to College. The first couple of days I experienced heavy rain and head winds, and of course I failed to pack my waterproofs – a hilarious sight for my work colleagues when I rocked up to the staff room, but since then the weather has been glorious sunshine. It is not just the weather and exercise that I’m enjoying, but also the thought of not paying to park my car at work, car insurance, and fuel! Why didn’t I do this years ago?? Not only is it lining my pockets with much needed cash for our trip, but also building up my noodle legs ready for the Norwegian Fjords and the Himalayan terrain. (I must say here, hills were not my friends, but they are slowly becoming friendlier).

The simple beauty of experiencing the seasons, weather and nature is something I could never do in the bubble of a car. My senses are alive, greenflies stick to my lip-gloss and I’ve been concussed by the odd wasp or two. Also it is lovely to see the same faces commuting every day. I feel it is such a community that I was missing out on before. You get a little nod, good morning or good afternoon when passing. What a lovely experience compared to sitting in traffic and feeling frustrated, especially with York’s gridlock one way systems.

My commuter bike (Cycle Wolf as she is known) has two orange Swift panniers on the back rack, perfect for storing my bag, laptop and work files for the day of teaching. This was my main worry when selling my car; how would I carry everything without looking like a storage unit / pack mule? And how would I bring my student’s work home to mark? Not a problem! I decided not to bring work home with me for the first time in 4 years – why should teachers do this! Now I have a good excuse. Plus, everything else that I need fits perfectly into the panniers. The panniers have also been tested out with a two week food shop and managed to hold their own without any disastrous comedic spillages all over the road. The eggs survived…Phew!

Commuting allows for one less car on the road, a small but helpful pedal in the right direction to helping the planet and environment, you’ll be a good example to your family, friends, and coworkers, you will feel exuberant and healthy, not to mention having a slightly heavier wallet. It’s a win win.

Tips so far;

Pack waterproofs
Wear a helmet – there are some crazy drivers on the road
Claim your space
Listen to Bruce Springsteen – Born to Ru…Cycle!
Don’t wear lipgloss through bug infested paths.
Watch out for Dogs on 20m invisible leads. DOH!

SMILE.