A former bus connoisseur, my friend Adam started cycling last year and has never looked back. Just a few weeks ago – he told me he hasn’t taken the bus to work yet in 2013. I asked him a few questions about his cycling adventures for the first round of Bikeable Confessions.
A very important side note – Adam’s lovely wife bought a bike from the same owner as my Saracen. It kind of makes us like sisters?
How long have you been cycling and what got you interested in it?
I have been a cycle commuter for just over a year. I moved out of town a couple of years ago, and the bus ride to work was getting to be too much for my scant patience- always stopping and starting, and never on my own schedule. I bought a pub bike, the Warrior, last March, but as soon as I got the taste for cycling I decided to upgrade within a few weeks. Cycling to work is quicker, cheaper, and- most importantly for me- if I’m late, I know it’s my own fault.
Tell us about your bike.
My bike is a compromise in every sense. She doesn’t have a name. She is a hybrid, all decked out in graphite. She is a hub bike, which means she carries more weight in the back than she should; her top speed is unremarkable, but she will keep running with almost no TLC whatsoever. She was a Gumtree bargain, and I’ve been clinging to the belief that she wasn’t stolen ever since I bought her.
What is your favourite cycle route in Edinburgh?
My favourite cycle takes me clean out of town. When I have a spare day, I follow the John Muir trail out through East Lothian to Gullane. It’s a varied- not always beautiful- 30-mile round trip along the coast taking in old salt pans and a power station; in reality it’s a thinly-veiled excuse to go to Falko, the Austrian patisserie and café in Gullane, for an open salami sandwich and some kind of monstrous gateau. A quick look at the beach and then home again.
What is your must-have bikeable accessory?
My bright red Altura Nightvision jacket. The quality isn’t what it should be for the money, and it’s effectively an easily stowed midlife crisis, but I’m always confident I can be seen at night in it. Since I started wearing it, I see them everywhere; I have unwittingly joined a secret fraternity of smug middle-aged men.
Best tip for cycling in the cold weather months
The winter months (all eleven of them in Edinburgh) are my favourite time for cycling- to work at least. I can commute in all my work clothes (plus optional waterproof trousers) without having to peel my shirt off my back when I get there. I never wear a thicker jacket than just a waterproof for cycling, because it’s easier to warm up than cool down, but I routinely forget that my cycling jacket is totally inadequate for going anywhere on foot during the winter. The lesson here is probably to leave a warmer jacket at work. I spend the winter with consistently cold legs, because I stubbornly refuse to succumb to cycling tights; the day I buy tights is the day I decide that elastic-topped jeans are both practical AND stylish, and that a cup of rooibos tea is far more gratifying than a pint of IPA.