|Cyclists in pole position at Trafalgar Square traffic lights|
Following the previous Ramble about all the good reasons why commuting by bike is so good, here are a few problems I have needed to solve.
- Clothes, shoes etc. Sometimes I get myself organised and make sure I have clothes at my office, ready for me to change into. Other times I take a change of clothes each day. The main thing is having a shirt which won’t become too crumpled looking. I always keep a spare pair of shoes under my desk but I do bring them home to give them a good polish from time to time – otherwise the leather will totally dry out! I always smile when I’m so obviously in my cycling gear (yellow jacket, helmet, clicky shoes) and someone in reception asks “Have you cycled today Doug?”.
- Body odour! As we don’t have showers, and if I’m really in need I have a quick wash in the “bathroom”. I do not like to use de-odourant but sometimes do make an exception.
- Bad weather happens less than we think here in the East of England; a relatively dry part of the UK. Squally winds and freezing temperatures are the things that I loathe the most. This is where the correct cycle clothing comes into play. Having cycle specific clothing is an investment worth making if you plan to cycle often.
- Squashed lunch might seem a daft problem but I can tell you, squashed cheese and pickle sandwiches just doesn’t look good by lunch time! Even worse than being squashed it where they fall to bits! A lunch box is useful, depending on how much space you have. Otherwise pack more robust things like flapjacks and apples
- Fear is real. Fear of cars, accidents, pedestrians, lorries and so on. The solution is found in being visible with lights and a yellow jacket where appropriate. Otherwise confidence, experience and a good road sense will help,
- Papers take up lots of room and can be heavy. Planning ahead and having pannier bags are my solutions as I often have to attend meetings elsewhere on different days. Sometimes I have to take papers for several meetings and these can seriously slow me down. Just as well I have not been “especially chosen” to have a laptop, I’d only lose it or leave it somewhere.
- Cramp is a bit of a problem for me but only in my feet. I have rambled about this before and it does bug me sometimes. I get it in some of the muscles in my feet, normally one at a time but when it strikes in both feet together, that can be a bit scary. I think the most probable cause, in which I could do something about, is the shoes I use and keeping my feet warm and dry enough. Click here for a review of my shoes. Click here for a ramble from last year about getting cramp.