Monday, 24 September 2012

I blame Bradley Wiggins!

I do love to see another cycle-commuter out there on my way to work.  If little else it means one car fewer to clutter things up but it's nice to have that sense of kindred spirit so lacking in car-commuters.

Over the summer I've noticed a huge increase in the number of bikes out there.  Both on the train in the morning and locked up at work when I get there.  I have joked, though I do also believe, that the upturn is due in no small part to the fantastic achievements of our Olympic cycling team and a certain Mr. Wiggins in "Le Tour".  In general, I think that this is a brilliant thing though it does have a couple of downsides.

Our small commuter train has a bespoke space to carry two full sized bikes and for ages it was only another lad and I storing their bikes in it.  Now however, there can be as many as seven bikes (including my folder) packed into both the storage space and the doorways at either end of the carriage.  To the train company's credit, they do get as many on as they can, and I've never known them to leave a cyclist behind, but it is somewhat congested at times!  Of course I have the advantage of being able to fold the Dahon which opens up another couple of places on the train that it will fit in comfort.  The lady who gets on with a Brompton from time to time has it even better.  I cannot believe how small those things fold up - a fully functional and very capable bike which will fit in the smallest of luggage spaces.  A versatile combination and (fingers in your ears please Dahon) very tempting when the Cycle Scheme comes back around.

There's also the issue of more bodies waiting to use the only shower at work once I get there.  Again, we've gone from one or two regulars to a gang of about five or six all wanting to shower in the morning.  I get on well with many of my workmates, but draw the line at cramming into a single shower cubicle with them.  Eurgh!  Pass the mind-bleach!

Inevitably, once summer turns to autumn (as it now seems to have done) then numbers will drop off.  In one way that is a shame but will make the experience more comfortable for the rest of us.  On a more serious note though, it just goes to show that if the government and employers want us to make greener choices in our transportation arrangements, the infrastructure needs to be improved to make that possible.  Unfortunately, the way the system works at the moment, it is reliant on more people using an overstretched system in the hope that some of th eprofits get diverted into making those services better for all.

On the whole probably a bit much to lay entirely at Wiggo's doorstep, he is an awesome athlete and all round hero after all.  But it is something that needs to be thought about in order that more people can make cycle commuting a practical reality.

Having just won the TdF and an Olympic gold,
he deserves a sit down, I'd say!

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