Why I prefer to cycle

This page was last modified on 28 July 2005.

Here are just a few of the reasons why I prefer to cycle:

[PHOTO: large hill looming ahead: 62kB]

Attacking a large hill…

[PHOTO: Rider’s-eye view no-hands uphill: 48kB]

…Climbing up into the cloud…

[PHOTO: RJG in cycling kit, standing on trig-point: 13kB]

…Arriving at the summit…

[PHOTO: downhill bend, blurred for impression of speed: 34kB]

…And hurtling down a favourite descent.

But bicycles can form part of a bigger picture

Of course cars have their uses. There are times when they are the most suitable option. I used not to own a car, but now do so because my fiancée depends upon it; most of the journeys that I make by car are to transport other people, or occur as a result of journey-requirements altered by doing so.

The fact remains that there are many local journeys, of less than 2 miles, where cars are not the most sensible mode of transport: given a realistic choice, I tend to go for Sensible and Practical, rather than Wasteful and Unnecessary. And this is from someone who Really Enjoys driving motor vehicles (and spent four years being paid to do so) too!

Left entirely to my own devices, I would find it perfectly practical not to own a car: if I needed one for a one-off journey involving much luggage, lack of public transport or particular time-constraint, I could hire one. In actual fact in more recent times I’ve tended to hire Transit-van-sized vehicles, because if I need motorised transport it’s usually because I’m moving house, transporting bits of old Tube-train or something — loads that wouldn’t fit in a car let alone a bike anyway!

For some people, even if they did own a car, it wouldn’t be much use on the rare occasions when it were needed because it couldn’t carry enough luggage. In any year I can have a good dozen hires of Transit-sized vans, or twice as many 48-hour hires of Escort-sized vans, and still end up cash-in-pocket compared to buying and running even the cheapest, smelliest, un-roadworthiest banger.