Tuesday, 1 November 2011

November on your bike

With the start of another month I turn to How Green Are My Wellies by Anna Shepard again. In the November chapter the focus is on commuting, biking and public transport. I wrote a little while ago about avoiding the car when going to work and the gym and so far I'm sticking to walking quite well.

I still haven't fixed up my bike but reading Anna's book makes cycling sound quite appealing. She gives five top tips for revamping bikes (just enough, so they don't look too temping to steal!).
  1. Be creative: Make it look unique to you and unappealing to thieves- flowery garlands, glitter or ribbons on the handlebars make it stand out in a rainy day crowd.
  2. Invest in a good seat: Especially if you're using a third or fourth hand bike a new seat could be the difference between giving up or cycling throughout the winter. Comfort is essential if you're trying to go out in the cold!
  3. Take a waterproof seat covering: If you've spent the time and money on a nice seat make sure you keep it nice. Shower caps from hotels are great for this as the elastic fits nicely round the seat so it stays dry and avoids you getting a wet bottomw when you cycle off.
  4. Get a bell: Making yourself heard will make your cycling safer. There are lots to choose from and you can make it as classic or as unique and individual as you like. 
  5. Light up: In dark winter days having good lights on your bike is essential. When the batteries start to go and the lights get dimmer change they straight away. The greenest way to do this is to get a battery recharger so that you don't have to keep buying and throwing away batteries.
The chapter also talks about walking. Anna gives her top ten reasons for walking:
  • To save money
  • To feel and look healthier
  • To slow down
  • To gain perspective on her problems
  • To make room for a teatime piece of cake
  • To see what's going on outside
  • To appreciate the seasons
  • To unwind- mentally and physically for those tight muscles
  • To hone the art of doing nothing
  • To spend time with someone- or to be completely on her own.
I agree with pretty much all of these. I particularly like the being alone, doing nothing and slowing down ones. Walking to and from work allows me enough time to plan my next few hours, what I need from the shops or what the next weeks hold. But it also gives me time to think of nothing and just walk without being busy but still doing something. That doesn't happen very often in my day.

Walking definitely isn't as quick or convenient as driving, it takes me 90 minutes to walk to work and back. It also means you have to plan your journey more, as I found today walking home in the pouring rain without a coat. In general though i feel better for walking, healthier and smug that I'm saving money and getting a little me time too.

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