The perks of cycling

Spring is nearing the end and here in London I’ve happily enjoyed an unusually (for me) long one. Frankly it’s been more like summer this past month with all the beautiful flowers and leaves blooming already.

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I’ve especially enjoyed biking to Imperial College in the mornings, with the sun in my eyes and seeing the beautiful neighborhoods of London.

People say I’m absolutely crazy cycling in London and perhaps they have a point. But I really love cycling and think it an excellent way to get around.
There’s no waiting for buses or trains, you get all the way from point A to point B, no getting stuck in traffic, no being crammed in between hundreds of people, way faster than walking or running, you can pack your groceries or whatever on it, it’s excellent exercise – especially for gluteus maximus! And good for the knees – good for the environment, great for learning how to find your way around, exploring, and enjoying nature and sunshine.

In fact, the biggest problem when cycling are all the people in cars. And I have never experienced it worse than here in London. In general they don’t use their blinkers and they don’t think about people on bikes, so every now and then they’ll just make a turn right in front of you so you barely have time to stop. As there are no proper bike paths in London you cycle on the roads and people in cars – for no apparent reason – get extremely provoked by cyclists passing them while they’re stuck in ques, so they try to block your path with their cars if they can. And as they drive past you – as if to make some sort of point which no one understands – they drive uncomfortably close to you.

Nevertheless, as a Swedish person used to right-sided traffic, I have still managed to survive without any incidents mainly by being careful, attentive and wearing a helmet, so it is in fact quite possible to enjoy cycling here as well. And I think it’s important to promote cycling. If people cycled more and took their cars less I am pretty sure both our health issues such as diabetes and overweight would decrease dramatically as well as our environmental problems.

Personally I would think it perfectly reasonable to have a car-free inner city with buses and trains for people who can’t walk or cycle. But I know most people would find that outrageous. However, cycling in Stockholm can also be slightly dangerous, although the situation is much better than in London. But steps have been taken these past years to improve and create new, proper bike paths. Mainly due to an increased interest for cycling and pressures from the people to make it happen.
The more we cycle, the higher the demand for better paths, and the higher the safety level of cycling.

There are a lot of excellent bike paths around KI, and if you live close enough it’s probably faster than taking buses and trains. Another fantastic plus – it saves you money on public transport!

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