Last year with my change in job I decided that would try cycling part of my journey in a loose attempt to get some exercise into my normal working day so here I am sat on the train with my bike on the way into work.
It seems I am not alone. In Great Britain around 3 million people cycle 3 times a week or more that’s around 12% of those who own or have access to a bicycle.*
I must admit I am bit perplexed how these figures were derived as no-one asked me or any of my friends and colleagues who cycle but this is not the point of this blog post.
Even anecdotally the increasing number of dayglo neon jackets and folding bikes that I see at railway stations across the south east indicates to me that this is becoming ever more popular and it would seem that according to national statistics this is true. According to the National Cycling Charity (CTC) the number of miles cycled in the UK has risen from 4 billion KMs in 1998 to 5 billion in 2012 with a doubling of usage in urban areas in the last 4 years.* I can see why it is becoming more popular, if one is tied to a desk or office job then option of working some exercise into the day is advantageous. Other factors such as the increasing cost of fuel and train fares, the adoption by more companies of tax-efficient cycle purchase schemes, professional locations installing shower and washing facilities at offices all help to make cycling more accessible, (Although a further discussion on the merits of cycle purchase scheme could be the subject of another blog post in the future), and I actually enjoy cycling. Well most of the time, yesterday when it was wet, cold and windy, was not as pleasant as other days on the bike.
I have also discovered that this is actually a very technical pastime which appeals to the inner tech geek. This means for me plentiful research on the internet, chatting with other cyclists (commuters, road riders, mountain bikers) and quizzing the guys in the local bike shops about the best type of jacket, trousers, gloves, jersey, panniers, lights, shoes, computers, even mobile phone apps, etc and that is before I even start on the bike itself. This could be extremely worrying for the family bank balance!
Going back to yesterday I know that my current wet weather winter gear is not up to scratch, more research required- googling winter waterproof cycling trousers as I type.