Cycling to work to avoid stress

I read this lovely article from the Daily Mail site yesterday and at first I thought it was complete rubbish (this is the Daily Mail after all….) but then after looking at the suggestions from the research I’m not so sure it all ties up.

Yes I suppose by riding to work I’m putting myself into a “dangerous” situation, exposing myself to the various pollutants in the air etc. but I’m sure this isn’t just a blanket effect for everyone who cycles, after all I’m getting a decent work out each day so surely this must offset some of the risk?

Also the perception of danger varies from person to person. I don’t have any issues dealing with the busy London roads, it’s almost become second nature now! If anything I feel more stressed when I’m using PT as there are timetables to follow, interchanges to make between trains and the undergroud and if any one of those is missed then it usually entails a fair bit of waiting around and wasting time. I quite like using my time productively so a 15 minute wait for the next train to me is viewed as roughly 3 miles cycling to my destination 🙂

There are also other nice side effects of exercise such as actually acting as a de-stresser and I honestly couldn’t believe how much better I felt yesterday after my ride, my first day back on the bike since rather stupidly shutting my fingers in the door of the family car on Valentines Day. Since then I’ve been fairly unbearable and in a foul mood, the brunt of which my wife and children have had to deal with. If I don’t get a chance to blow off that excess energy it just build up to the point where I become rather short tempered. This was compounded by the fact that I had to use public transport to get around for work and the fact that the injury that meant I was off the bike was entirely my own stupid fault!

I can’t imagine the strain of all that stress was good for me and even I could tell I was much calmer having got in from the ride home last night! Incidentally last night was the first time since last summer/early autumn that I’ve been able to ride in a short sleeved top and it felt great, nothing beats the sensation of wind on bare skin and I was absolutely belting around in London before hitting the hills in Crystal Palace which I positively glided up with none of my usual asthmatic warthog impressions 🙂

Not just a cyclist

I’m not just a cyclist.

I’m the computer guy. The one everyone comes to with their tales of woe about this not working and the weird error messages they get. It’s running slow. It’s not running at all. No problem, I’ll come round and have a look, I enjoy helping people and the occasional chance to learn something new each time always has me hunting out the more mundane problems.

I’m a brother. To just a single person, but I can blame my parents for that 🙂 We may have had our differences growing up but I think we are past that all now. We’ve both grown up and are doing are own things now. He does some super-complicated physics stuff which makes my brain hurt just trying to understand the title on his papers……

I’m a son. I had it fairly good growing up. I was very lucky in this respect and it’s a point I don’t think I’ll fully appreciate for a good while yet.

I’m a husband. I started fairly early on that one by most peoples standards. I’ll have been a husband for 10 years come end of May this year. That’s almost just over 1/3 of my life! I may not be a brilliant husband but I like to think of it as a learning experience. I apparently have a lot to learn but do have a lifetime to do so 🙂

I’m a father. To 6 wonderful children, I’m so proud of them! Despite the constant struggle with them to tidy their room, put things away, going to bed in the evening and waking up in the morning I wouldn’t swap them for anything and can’t imagine my life without them. It only takes one smile from them and suddenly everything in the world seems right.

I’m a helmet cam user. This is a fairly recent development as I only got the camera last Christmas. I’ve found it rather beneficial as not only can I record both the good and bad behaviour of other road users I can also capture my own. I don’t sit down and review the whole of every ride but I can easily go back to certain key situations to see if there was anything I think I could have done better. They say you have perfect vision in hindsight and it’s even better when that vision in presented in 720p on a 40″ screen 🙂 I’ve contributed clips to a friends video series entitled Silly Cyclists. I’ve even had a comment left on my Youtube channel thanking me for my contributions which was remarkably satisfying to read 🙂

I’m a commuter. Unfortunately I can’t send the kids out to work yet so I have to go. As I don’t (often) work from home I need to get from my house to place of work. I sometimes use the a bus and sometimes use a train. But most of the time I’ll get there under my own steam (well actually sweat….) which brings me to my next point.

I’m a cyclist. This is probably fairly obvious to those who have read this my previously (yes both of you ;-)) and to be fair the URL is a bit of a giveaway. Combine this with the previous point above and this is where I get to do most of my riding. This however seems to annoy some people as they routinely place me in danger for apparently no reason. Since getting my camera I’ve been highlighting these people on Youtube and there is one common theme, quite a few of the incidents I’ve recorded could have been avoided had the driver been a little more patient.

I’m sure my friends, family and employer would be hugely overwhelmed that I won’t be around to sort out their computer issues all because you couldn’t wait a couple of seconds to overtake me safely instead of speeding past mere inches from my handlebars.

My brother is very intelligent, I’m sure he’ll understand that you had something really important to do. So important that you feel it necessary to race into a disappearing gap between me and a traffic island, after all the cyclist will bounce off your car.

Despite what she says sometimes I’m fairly sure my wife would prefer if I came home every night. I appreciate following a cyclist at 20mph when you could be doing 30mph may waste a few precious seconds, but is 5 seconds worth more then my life?

I know we all have a job to do and we like to do that to the best of our ability. I like to teach my kids to work hard so I hope they’ll understand when daddy comes home injured because some taxi driver is so intent on getting his fare around quickly he completely overlooks me riding next to him and cuts me up. I should consider myself lucky though, at least he was one of the ones that knows what his indicators are for…

Thankfully so far the only accident I have caught on camera is due to my own stupidity and I got away with it relatively un-scathed. I’m just hoping these are the only type I capture.

All I’m asking is for drivers to see me as more then just another cyclist. I could be your IT technician. I could be your brother. I could be your father. I could be your husband. Just because I choose a different way to get around please respect my decision. After all if I’m on my bike it’s one more seat on the train or one car less on the road.