Before I knew to be scared of cycling in London, I wasn’t.
And then I decided it would be a good idea to hire a Boris bike and follow another cyclist back from a meeting to Euston Station.
“You’ve cycled in Manchester before?” she asked.
Indeed I had, a leisurely Sunday afternoon ride to my capoeria class, or a quick run around the local park. Commuting was still on another level.
And in London – well. It was the middle of the day, so quieter than normal, and I did have someone to follow. Unfortunately she was a lot faster and more experienced a cyclist, and keeping up with her was hard enough without all the taxis and buses and strange, busy junctions.
Needless to say I made it back to Manchester, but the experience did put me off cycling in the capital for a number of years.
Thankfully, I had the opportunity to change my mind when a friend moved down there and cycled all over. When I went to visit I would hire a bike and follow her around the city; without a time limit and with someone who understood my limits (indicate in good time, don’t ride too fast, keep checking I’m behind you) it was really fun.
Since then I’ve cycled around London a few times and have grown to love it, especially at night. After the hustle and bustle of the day is over, London at night is spectacular. Quiet little streets with barely any traffic, and the chance to see all that amazing architecture and life that you miss on the Tube.
Today I heartily recommend cycling in London – albeit if you/ someone you’re with knows where you’re going. Cycling on my own would be the next challenge. You get a real feel for how huge and wonderful our capital is by bike; it is a cheaper, more enjoyable way of getting around.
Have you cycled in London? Would you be scared?