If I had a pound for every time I'd thought "Must update the bike blog" since the last post, I could probably quit work and cycle commuting altogether. But then that would be no fun - the office could take a hike but I'd miss the daily bike ride.
So yes, I'm still here and still commuting by bike and train and my trusty Dahon 3- speed is still, well, trusty. A recent change of role at work has meant that I tend to spend five days straight at our office now. Not all the time, but more than I used to have to. That means that I'm doing the full 115 mile weekly round trip quite often and the miles are really racking up. I'll do a more detailed tally in the next few days but the Dahon has definitely topped 6,000 miles now.
It is very definitely winter now and while the temperatures have been reasonably mild, the wind hasn't. Each morning last week I have had the pleasure of a monster headwind to pedal into all the way to work. The blessing is, of course, that I have had a nice tail wind on the way home each night but the ups don't seem to balance the downs. By Thursday morning this week, my legs were dead and Friday was a real struggle. I have had a bit of a bad chest this week too, but even so the wind has definitely taken it out of me.
Another winter treat is that I'm commuting both ways in the dark these days. We have turned the corner this year in that mid-winter has passed and (in theory at least) the days are getting longer. But it's lights-on morning and night for the moment. That first commute of 2014 in the half-light of dawn can't come quickly enough for me, though it'll be well into February before that happens, I reckon.
Would I swap the relative hardship of cycling for four wheels and a heater? Absolutely not. Even on the foulest days, there is an unbeatable rush when you finally each the journey's end and sit down with a well-earned mug of tea. Also, although I'm far from an Adonis, I'm in the best physical shape I've been in for many, many years. The prospect of turning forty in a few weeks and being able to fit comfortably into 32 inch waist jeans is a happy one. The very, very tight jeans that my wife and kids bought me for Christmas merit a post of their own. I got them on though and, tight as they were in many places, round my middle wasn't one.
No, I wouldn't go back to regular car commuting now. The upsides of cycling more than outweigh the downs and if you're wondering whether to try it yourself, don't wait. Just go for it..
More to follow soon (I hope...)