Finding her own line – Cecily Hamilton-Baillie

Whether you come to cycling for practicality, fitness, or just curiosity, it soon becomes clear that there’s no better way to find your way through the city. Cecily Hamilton-Baillie of Rapha writes about the power of using time instead of just wasting it, escaping the daily grind, and the radical simplicity of city riding.

When you take the bus or the tube after work it’s like leaving one job for another – I find myself still thinking about the same things I had been thinking about when sitting at my desk. If you’re still stuck thinking about work, you might as well not have left.

Commuting is about getting from A to B, and there’s no escaping this, but if you’re on the bike it’s like you’re using the time rather than just wasting it. Riding for 20 minutes after work is like punctuation for your day, an ‘in between’ time. I think this is because of the simplicity of riding a bike in town – what I mean is that you can’t really avoid thinking about the little things involved of riding a bike: following traffic, making turns, looking after yourself. You’re forced to have these things on your mind for a while, and they’re the opposite of the ‘big’ decisions about money or overheads or critical pathways, you spend the rest of the work day thinking about. Riding slows life down for a few minutes.

You have to remember to dress less warmly for riding, and to keep scarves and gloves in your bag because your neck and fingers can freeze even when the rest of you over heats. The indispensible things are the versatile outer layers, like a good quality rain jacket that doesn’t look like a florescent bin bag.

Get good mudguards and you’ll be in a far better position than the pedestrians, hiding under umbrellas and regretting their choice of shoes on slippery pavement. Sure, it can be a drag getting soaked or riding into a headwind, but at least you have something to fight against. Riding is always the best choice, whatever the weather.

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