Biking About Glasgow: The Commute Test

If this post has been published on my blog, then I did it. I have, after months and maybe years of saying I would, finally cycled (part of the way) to work. 

I haven't owned a bike in a very long time, probably way back to my teenage years mountain bike (a Raleigh Boulder, if you wanted to know) and have always wondered if I'd actually use a bike and use it to cycle to work as an adult. I had always assumed that I would keep saying it, then maybe plump a few hundred quid for a bike, and then stop using it after a few days because it was too difficult and in Aberdeen it certainly would have been the case.

Aberdeen isn't the most mountainous city in the world but it does have a few big hills that my company appear to have gravitated towards. One office in particular is at the peak of a hill so vast it required Shell to build their massive North Sea headquaters into the hill side, with multiple entrances and levels of car parks. Their office has all the charm of a mid-game Bowser castle boss level. When I first started in Aberdeen before I had my car I had to walk to work up this hill, and always and every time ended up at work sweaty. (See Note 1). I used the showers a few times (beacuse my B&B way back in the start didn't have an en-suite) and I'd have missed Gary's amazing full "English" and coffee every morning if I'd taken a shower.

The concept of cycling to work intensified once we moved to Glasgow after we moved to our current house - 15 minutes from a train station that is two stops from my work, and a shuttle bus from the train to the office, meant not using the car was a viable option - and I did that for a long time - almost two years with sporadic breaks here and there (for babies and weddings, for example). But due to the tight connection between the bus and the train any slight disruption cost me around 40 minutes of a working day; either waiting for the next bus or walking the 35 minutes to the office. Last week, for example, on the only day I took the train there were massive delays, and I had to walk from the train to the office whilst a nonchalant cyclist hopped off the train and booted it round the corner ahead of me.

I shook my fist at him because not two earlier I had borrowed Michael's in-disrepair / non-finished bike and it was sitting in my garage awaiting reconstruction surgery.

The main thing that made me want to start cycling is my fitness, which is at what is an all time low (or at least a post-Texas dip). Understandably, of course. The thing is that walking eats into my time at both ends - takes me longer to get to work which means getting up earlier and it takes me longer to get home eating into my time with Joni. So biking, which shaves off 12 minutes at the home to train end and 25 minutes at the train to office end as well as giving me the freedom to grab any train I fancy rather than waiting for the bus, had a compelling argument: all I had to do was try it.

And that is what happened this morning, if this post is online. I wrote this before it happened to try and force myself to do it. As the weeks and months go on the viability of it as a commuting option will be put into focus, of course - but if it is good and i see the benefits (in my health and my waist) then I'll get a bike myself and give back Mike's proto-bike. I am very grateful for him giving me the option and the ability to test my resolve, which isn't known for it's steadfast nature when it comes to physical exertion, to be perfectly honest.

I'll update you all with my progress. But when I look so very good in a helmet, his-vis jacket and tight yoga/running trousers at 6.45am there is no stopping me.

Note 1 - Isn't it amazing that I have a blog post online that talks about that little anecdote? Still amazes me. My blog remembers things better than I do, and I love it.