Bike is best

I did a whole series of radio and TV interviews today to mark National Bike Week. Cycling England, on whose board I sit, put out a press release giving some statistics on how cycling both reduces the carbon footprint and entails health and fitness benefits.
People often express great surprise when I say I cycle round London but it always strikes me that cycling is such an obvious way of getting round town that I am more surprised that they don’t. The objections which popped up in the media interviews were the usual ones: safety, weather, luggage and sweating. It is pretty easy to swat away all these objections. Yes there are dangers, but the health benefits far outweigh them; the weather is surprisingly dry, though this was not an easy argument to put after the weekend’s storms; luggage can be carried within reason; and sweat is not really a problem unless you are trying to train for competitions. Crucially, though, I suggested that you do not have to be a fundamentalist cyclist. If you have too much luggage or shopping, hop in your car or take a bus or taxi. Equally, if it is pouring with rain, give cycling a miss.
I was hoping to encourage just a few of the listeners to give cycling a try. For me there are so many advantages that I would not consider any other method of getting round London. It gets me there in a predictable amount of time – I have not excuse when I am late for a meeting – it saves me money and helps keep me fit. I can’t say any of these are altruistic and even if the bicycle were not the best alternative for the environment, I would tend to use it anyway (although as a young man I had a passion for medium size motorbikes).
The truth, though, is that I am an addict.
Even when I really do not feel like the effort, after the first mile or so, I begin to really enjoy it as my production of endorphins kicks in – let’s hope a few more people get that same addiction after my tour of the studios this morning.

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