A friend recently posted this picture on his facebook and blog talking about how amazing he feels when he is out on his bike and I have been meaning to do something similar for a while but never got round to it.
As you know, I’ve recently switched from cycling on the roads around Edinburgh to taking an off-road route using a cycle path and the change that has made to my head space about cycling really is amazing. I have that buzz again of LOVING cycling, even in the worst weather, I don’t look out the window and think “I could just get the train”. I actually look forward to being on my bike. I love that every day I can just cycle without having to worry about cars and the occasional other road user who isn’t paying attention. I even don’t mind that I get home at night covered in mud.
I enjoy a daily dose of rabbits and squirrels and all sorts of birds I hadn’t seen before now that I’m on a more countryside like path to work.
One important thing I have learned is that how much poor maintenance of your bike can ruin the fun. Even just keeping your bike clean, making sure you clean out all the dirt and yuk from the gears makes a huge difference to how smooth and how pleasant your cycle is and how much work you have to do.
I’ve started a weekly maintenance schedule for my bike where I clean the whole thing, get rid of all the dirt even in all those hard to reach places and then I de-grease and clean the chain and finally lubricate all the moving parts. Being on the cycle path I’m finding that there is a lot of dust and dry dirt that get clogged into things like the chain and that using a normal “wet” lubricant like oil is making things worse as everything sticks to it, so I have also switched to a “dry” lubricant. I can’t tell you what this is exactly or explain the science all I know is that I am finding things feel much slicker, the ride feels much smoother.
One other helpful hint I can give is to make sure your tyres are properly inflated. Soft tyres make it much harder going on the legs, properly inflated tyres really do make you feel like you are whizzing along on much less effort. You can find out what PSI you should inflate your tyres to by looking on the tyre itself.
The only black cloud I have about cycling now is my worry that this cycle path won’t be usable over the winter, when it’s icy and dark. I am actually dreading having to go back onto the roads in winter or worse put the bike away and get the train. I did notify East Lothian Council about broken lights at one part of the path last year and they still haven’t been repaired or replaced, this doesn’t bode well.
Want to read more about people enjoying their commute on their bicycles? Try harry’s blog: https://dutchbikeguy.wordpress.com/