In the fourth blog of this series, Communications Coordinator Sarah shares what it is like to ditch her bus pass and take up cycling to work.
Autumn presents a sticky dilemma to the cycling commuter; Irish comedian Dylan Moran would call it “fierce mild”.
Basically, the weather is sunny but cool. Great for walking. Perfect for getting the bus. But to a novice cyclist like me with no ‘cyclist’s wardrobe’ to my name, it’s a clothing disaster.
I start my commute pretty chilly in a t-shirt, light fleece and waterproof shell. After 10 minutes I reach optimum cosiness, then by the time I reach work I’m a sweaty mess. Not cool.
What should I do?
Option one was embrace it. I took extra clothes to work and showered when I got there. It was fine, but required prep the night before and meant I was hogging our main office bathroom for 10 minutes every morning. I still wanted the option of being able to arrive ready.
Option two was change my clothes. After quizzing lots of you guys – fellow cyclists – the general consensus seemed to be a light, breathable base layer, gloves, skip the fleece, and keep the shell.
After a rummage around Fort Kinnard, I came home with a merino wool base layer, cyclist’s gloves, and those highly attractive cyclist’s leggings with padding in the bum. Nice.
Cycles since have been a bit more comfortable, but I’m beginning to think maybe its time to ditch the backpack and go for a pannier if I really do want to arrive sans sweaty back.
Outfit sorted, I had another problem to tackle – finding out why I was repeatedly bursting my back tyre’s inner tube.
I cycle through Peffermill Business Centre which usually has a decent sprinkling of broken glass on the road, and over the course of the summer my back tyre deflated 3 times. I assumed it was the glass, but each time I took it to a bike repair shop they couldn’t find any.
At the last visit they asked me to describe my route, and stopped me when I told them about the kerb I jump every morning beside Craigmillar library. As it turns out, trying to bunny hop kerbs – and often failing – is a sure-fire way to burst your back inner tube with a “pinch puncture”. Who knew! I’ve now changed my route slightly to avoid the kerb – no burst tubes since.
So there you go – As the leaves turn golden and fall, I’m a little more clued up, confident and comfortable than I was a few months back.
Stay tuned for another blog when the weather turns wintery.
Tweet Sarah at @sarah_fordhutch