y o u b i k e l o n d o n; Neil from Brockley

Name / age?
I’m Neil, I’m 28.
Where do you live / ride to?
I ride from Brockley (SE4) to New Oxford Street, via The Peckham Quiet Route, The Old Kent Rd, St Georges Circus and Waterloo Bridge
What do you ride?
Currently - a Cannondale CAAD 9. Over the top for commuting I know, but bought it to compete (poorly) in Triathlons and don’t have space for a second bike. I did ride a Charge Plug (single speed) for a few years before that which I actually found perfect for the commute, but Triathlons on a single speed can be, let’s say, painful. Just ask my wife, she did the Olympic Distance London Tri this year on one - and did better times than some of the lads we were doing it with - legend.
How often do you ride?
Around 4 times a week - then some (rare) long country cycles on the weekends when the weather’s decent and longer training rides during Tri season.
What's your primary reason for cycling?
I started with the primary goal of not having to deal with Tubes. The depression on peoples faces was bringing me down, so I thought a bike was a good plan.  Now it’s fitness. I lost 20kg in the year I started cycling to work, and I put 70% of that down to cycling alone. I find it’s a simple and really fun way to include decent exercise in my daily routine.
What's your least favourite aspect of cycling?
After ‘Snowmegeddon Part Deux’ over the last week or so I’d say - the weather. It’s been interesting. I don’t so much mind rain/snow... it’s freezing wind and all the crud on the ground ruining my gears I’m not a fan of... not too mention the smell of my bag carrying my damp clothes; it’s special.
What's your most favourite aspect of cycling?
The independence. I don’t have to rely on SouthEastern trains ruining my morning before it’s even begun. I can leave and be sure I’ll be in work within 30 mins and be in a fantastic mood.
How many locks do you carry and have you ever had a bicycle stolen?
1 D-lock. I’ve had the same lock since I started cycling 4 years ago. Once, hungover, I went to shower at my Covent Garden gym after my commute in. When I was packing up in the change rooms to leave I found my lock in my bag - I was so hungover I just didnt lock my bike up. I thought that was that and my bike would be gone, but low and behold it was waiting up against the light post I’d left it on. I think you only get one of those sorts of lucky moments, and mine's been used.
What advice would you give an aspiring cycling thinking of riding in London for the first time?
Funny you should ask - a lovely lady at my office has just signed up to the ride to work scheme based on the advice/inspirational drunken banter me and colleagues conveyed about our love for the cycle commute. My thoughts were :
Go for it, don’t be afraid. I hadn’t cycled in traffic before I started in London 4 years ago. To my surprise it was easy and not scary at all.
Start slowly, learn the ropes and give yourself time to gain confidence.
In no time you’ll be wondering how you it took you so long to start!
If you were Mayor for the day what would you do to improve the lot of the London cyclist?
Put those motorcyclists back where they belong and OUT of the cycle lane. So many times I’ve seen them come close to taking a cyclist out - it’s crazy.
Also, and as London Mayor this may be above my jurisdiction, instate the death penalty for bus drivers that stop 25 metres before the bus stop and let people out. I went straight through about 10 innocent commuters at 20km/h recently just south of Waterloo because of this and damaged myself, them, and most importantly my bike, pretty badly. The drivers response to the angry crowd - close the doors and drive away. Hang ‘em all.

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Clive Chapman said...

I have recieved a reply from the Transport Secretary after I wrote to my MP about Strict Liability, I'll publish it in a blog after xmas. Makes for interesting reading.

Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year!

challenge said...

This is the raddest cycling bio I have ever read. You are too awesome for words.

Clive Chapman said...

Hi Mark,

You can see the Transport Secretary's response to my letter about Strict Liability over on my Blog http://www.massivemtber.co.uk/?p=908