I cycled to work this morning, again. That’s four times this week which is more times than I managed all of last year. When I started my own business just 7km from home I swore then that I would cycle in whenever possible. Well, I decided to skip the lovely spring and summer that we had last year and only started properly a couple of weeks ago. Since that day it has rained, snowed and sleeted. There have been dry days, but they were freezing – like this morning.
The catalyst was my wife, Ariane. She works here too and she decided she was going to get some mudgards and wet-weather gear and cycle in whatever the weather. She was right – otherwise you just keep finding excuses.
It’s pretty nice cycling here. Most of the route is either on a dedicated cycle path or a decent trail through the forest. I would say more people use their bikes as a mode of transport than back home in England. Normal clothes, a bit of high-vis green and a helmet – which is usually crooked (why do bike helmets always do that?) is a fairly common sight. You only see the lycra-boys at weekends really. As it’s been very cold just lately I have been sporting a ski-hat under my helmet. Now that really does look stupid. But it’s warm and there are plenty of other similarly-clad cyclists on the road so… safety in numbers.
I ride from Schönaich to Böblingen. It takes about 25 minutes the way we go. The first half is all uphill and the second half is all downhill. That means that I get to sweat uncomfortably at the start and have it then freeze on me as I whizz down through the forest. Lovely. On most days, I cycle together with Ariane and we always seem to hear a woodpecker at the same spot in the forest. For all the huffing, puffing and sweating it really does feel good to get into work by bike.
It is unfortunately only a matter of time before I fall off. This is because Ariane is a speed demon on a bike (she was a “proper cyclist” before the kids came along) and takes corners a lot faster than I’d really like to. When I’m behind I try to keep up (and when I fail just say that I was hanging back to avoid the spray) and when I’m in front I can feel her presence there like Valentino Rossi waiting to pounce. But so far, so good.