y o u b i k e l o n d o n; Sam from Shepherd's Bush

Name / age?
Sam, aka @scsmith4 and I'm 33.
Where do you live / ride to?
Ealing, and I ride the hills to Shepherds Bush for work.
What do you ride?
A very pretty Dawes Mirage.
It looks new?
She's a year old.

How often do you ride?
Now it's getting warmer again, every day.  In the depths of winter about twice a week.  I find it's not so much that I don't want to be on the bike, it's just layers of leggings that put me off...
Helmet or no helmet?
Only a helmet when it's really icy going, if I'm feeling like I'm going to prat fall.
What's your primary reason for cycling?
Because it's fun; I feel like a four year old again.
What's your least favourite aspect of cycling?
People wearing lots of lycra; firstly because they can get away with it and I can't, and secondly because I think that the more lycra you wear the more superior you seem to be as a cyclist, and I don't like being made to feel like I still need stabilisers just because I'm not wearing it, even though I'm perfectly capable.
Do you think that sense of superiority perhaps leads to those cyclists being treated differently by other road users?
They seem to be the one's who have more people swearing at them - there's a bunch of blokes in my office, who come in the morning in their cycling gear and are a bit "Whey!", and "Hey, I've just powered in, say congratulations", and I'm thinking 'I've just cycled in.  And...?'
What's your most favourite aspect of cycling? Is it getting places quickly? A sense of freedom? Cruising through Hyde Park with flowers in your hair?
You've been spying on me!  No, seriously, I do like that I don't have to deal with other people's sweaty arm-pits on the Tube but the best thing is that I can go where I want.  I can do stupid length errands, and it's fine, it's just not a problem.
When you're riding a bike, what do you never leave the house without?
My gloves; I've got my really padded ones which stop my hands from getting sore, and then I've got my thermal ones because I'm a wuss.
How many locks do you carry and have you ever had a bicycle stolen?
[Reaches for tree and touches wood] Not yet!
It's a shame we say 'not yet' as if it is inevitable, do you think it's inevitable in London?
Yeah, I think it is.  I think the fact that I have girly panniers and usually a big basket on the front and stuff like that perhaps puts any potential thieves off, maybe it's not hot enough to be stolen?
What advice would you give to an aspiring cyclist thinking of riding a bike in London for the first time?
Practice in your local park, pretend like you are four years old, and then just get out there and do it.  The more you try the less wobbly you get and the more confident you feel, and then it's fine.
Lastly, imagine yourself as Boris Johnson...
[Sniggers] Oh-kay...
..if you were Mayor of London for the day, what would you do to improve the lot of the London cyclist?
I would get as much legislation signed to make as many roads like the bottom of Hyde Park as possible - it's wide and you've got the choice of either a separate lane or the track where you can take on the horses, or a nice wide but quiet road - the right balance on every road.

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Anonymous said...

And she's from Ealing. Clearly Ealing people are amazing! :)

Helen said...

Sam, that's a lovely bike you ride. You're an inspiration!
I think that spandex-wearing cyclists who "power in," often ride too fast for road-sharing. They seem too cool to call "on your left," (in America), or use a bell. Scares the crap out of me when I'm riding and they come whizzing by with no notice. Must scare the crap out of drivers, too.