Coincidentally, after my post yesterday, I read FAQ's concurrent blog entry about cycling.
It reminded me of a few of my own non-expert observations during cycling.
- Recognise that fixies are generally ridden by quick people. Some commuter lanes (like the Embankment around rush-hour) can be very competitive.
- Other cyclists will, in general, be faster than me.
- My own fixie is more or less a vanity project. I have even flipped the rear wheel so that it can freewheel. And yes, it has proper brakes.
- The weight of the security and safety devices needed for London are around 1/3 of the bike's weight.
- Stay away from the left hand side of big vehicles and expect car doors to spring open at a moment's notice.
- Don't tell anyone where your secure secret bike parking spot is located.
- For entertainment, it is worth stopping with the Brompton foldable bike around Westminster or Buckingham Palace and collapsing and reassembling it. There will be tourists genuinely interested in the process. The reassemble with a 'rear-wheel-flip' is particularly crowd pleasing.
- The Brompton's hub gear is surprisingly useful.
- Overtaking in hilly countryside needs to be ego-less. The elderly couple or the tourers with laden panniers will inevitably re-appear. It is best to hop off and adjust something.
- The countryside route long hills often have alternative quieter routes which are just as difficult but with less people around to watch the struggle.
- There is a ping-whizz sound from fast cyclists as they overtake.
- It's courteous to make noises when otherwise stealthily overtaking joggers and pedestrians in quiet lanes
- It's good to say hello to people moving at similar speeds in the other direction
- There is a point where getting wet ceases to matter. It is better to just smile in such circumstances and watch motorists give a wide berth.
- Everyone has already heard all the smug quotes about the right clothing.
- Surprisingly small adjustments to the saddle and even the handlebar height can make quite a difference to the amount of aches and pain.
- A small camera is better than a mobile phone when needing an excuse to stop for a rest because it can look more obviously purposeful.
- Take the small bag with the spare bits, mini pump, emergency £10 note and all-in-one tool.
- Even a heavily squashed Nutri-grain bar at the bottom of a rucksack can be extremely welcome after a certain amount of pedalling.