Wheel Spiels is a new regular feature in which we ask members and non-members alike to share their stories of cycling. In our first spiel, Angela tells us how she’s switched from cycling to work everyday to cycling for her allotted daily exercise to keep her health and motivation up whilst socially distancing.
I am a keen commuter cyclist who is currently embracing working from home in light of the current restrictions. I work for Pryers Solicitors who are normally based on The Stonebow in York city centre. Traffic and parking restrictions in York mean cycling is the perfect solution for commuting. Especially for me as I like to exercise, but struggle to motivate myself to get out, so cycling is ideal. I only live about five miles out from the city centre, but it means I am forced to do 40 minutes of exercise every day, or I will be late for work.
I have previously commuted to other jobs by car, train, bus and tube. Cycling is by far my favourite way to get to work. To me, commuting by bike isn’t just about exercise, it’s good for my mental health too, it is very hard to be preoccupied with work as I dodge potholes pedalling up Taddy Road.
So, when the government encouraged people to work from home a couple of weeks ago, I was proud that Pryers adapted very quickly to this new state of working. However, I instantly lost 40 minutes of daily exercise. Now I’m sure I wasn’t alone thinking that I could use some of my newfound time at home to exercise. I’m pretty sure too that I’m not the only one who failed to keep that up longer than a couple of days. I like many, am juggling a full time job, working remotely consistently for the first time, in a house full with others who are trying to do the same, whilst trying to keep a teenager on track with school work (home schooling is unfortunately not the right term here). But more importantly as I mentioned, I struggle to motivate myself for exercise, so my resolution to do a workout at lunchtime soon vanished.
Late last week, two weeks into ‘isolation’ I was certainly beginning to feel lethargic and like I was gradually melting into my desk chair, so I decided to combine a necessary trip out with my daily exercise allowance. I shook off my bike, now minus the daily grime of commuting, and headed out onto the road.
I took the decision to come off the cycle paths as it was becoming difficult to give the necessary two metres space to other cyclists and walkers. So, in a very unusual situation, it was safer to cycle on the road than the path. I did notice that even with the reduced traffic, there were still a couple of drivers who made unnecessarily close passes. I can sometimes excuse drivers for close passes if they felt under pressure to make a risky manoeuvre due to other traffic pressures, but with only a few cars on the road, it surely must be due to ignorance or impatience.
Despite the rare inconsiderate driver, my mood had lifted significantly by the time I got home. I’d done a 10-mile ride, I wasn’t restricted to a busy commuter ride, I could cycle some of the more local, scenic routes and I had a smile back on my face. I’ve now committed to doing something similar after work every day, which isn’t quite as removed to my normal routine as home workouts. I’m therefore more confident that this resolution will last longer than the last one.
If you have a story you’d like to share with us please email YorkCycleCampaign@gmail.com. We welcome stories from anyone so long as its related to your own personal experience of cycling, whether positive or negative, and it doesn’t even have to be about York – we love hearing about other places.