After commuting across London for a good few years, cycling is now predominantly my recreation: a physical test, a way to be in the wonderful hills near my home, an escape from the desk and computer, a mechanism for tapping into those alpha brainwaves.
But I am trying to cycle for more utilitarian means again. Last week, I did some Christmas shopping on my bike. This was before the snow carpeted and I simply didn’t want to drive. Saturday afternoon trying to find a parking space? No thanks.
I pedalled to the store with a sickeningly virtuous glow as I passed cueing motorists. But as I locked my trusty hack to a sturdy Sheffield stand, I had that feeling again… the anxiety that the bike would not be there when I emerged laden with stocking fillers.
I used to get this all the time in London, and I was one of the lucky ones. My office has a garage covered by CCTV so I could be reasonably confident that my Bike Friday would still be there come clocking-off time.
Locking outside the pub or shop was a different matter, though. I’d be constantly looking out of the window checking it was still there. If someone were loitering nearby, I’d go out and self-consciously check the D-lock.
My ‘Friday was tailor made and a substantial investment. My current utility machine, a Kona Dew Drop, is not unique – a stock, butt-ugly, fat-tubed aluminium hybrid. But this has little to do with monetary value.
If, like me, you ‘love’ your bike, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve spent on it. Theft of your cycle cuts deep. It’s a violation that is disproportionate to the couple of hundred quid the thief may get for your pride and joy.
I am learning to let go, but it’s taking time.