AdLand Suit is Dan Shute, a Board Account Director at Delaney Lund Knox Warren, a top ten London Advertising Agency. This is where I write about the life of a Suit - which can include pretty much anything. Delaney's didn't know I was doing this, but they do now. They still don't agree with everything I say though. They'd also probably rather I swore less.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

It's Just Like Riding A Bike

Except that it hurts a lot more now than it did when I was 8. Yes, you are now as likely to see ALS scurrying through the streets of London atop a 24 speed commuter bike as you are to see him in the back of a magic black bus.

In an attempt to halt the onset of waistband spread (and trust me, I'm as much at a loss as you are as to why it might be happening), I've taken my fitness (and my life) in my hands, and am now cycling to and from work every day - a round journey of some 16 miles. Whilst it's fair to say that it hurts slightly less with every day that passes, it's also fair to say that it still hurts an awful lot.

But cycling is a good thing. I'm certainly not a born-again cyclist, but I'm fitter than I was, I feel healthier than I did, and (touch wood) I haven't died yet. As such, more people should do it. A fitter Suit is a better Suit. Or, perhaps better, a Cycling Suit is a Guilt-Free Lunching Suit. So, to help out the thousands of you (ahem) who will be inspired to take to the bike by this post, here, in no particular order, are the things I've learned about cycling in London over the last couple of weeks.

1. No matter how steep the hill, you never want to be in the easiest gear - it just means you've got nowhere to go when the hill gets steeper just round that corner. (That is the closest we'll come to 'wisdom' in this particular post.)

2. The CycleScheme is a 'very good thing'. Speak to your head of HR to find out if your company is involved, and if it isn't, then pester him or her until it is. Use words like 'eco', 'responsibility' and 'averting the impending apocalypse'.

3. Cyclists aren't (necessarily) very nice. Some are, but I had it in my head that I'd be entering into some kind of velocipedic brotherhood. If there were no secret handshakes, there would at least be friendly glances/exchanges at the traffic lights. It's us against the be-motored bastards, isn't it? Erm... no. A lot of cyclists are, for want of a better word, arseholes. Sweary arseholes. If you do cycle, don't be one of those people.

4. My spirit rises and falls in direct contrast to the topography of my journey. Or, to put it another way, the agony of cycling up hills is almost worth it for the bliss of cycling down the other side.

5. There will be at least as much uphill on your journey back from a place as there was on the way. If not more. It's an interesting quirk of cycling physics.

6. Cycling in the rain is more exciting and less painful, but more likely to lead to death. You win some, you lose some.

7. Buses hurt. Trucks, I would imagine, hurt even more.

8. People who've started cycling within the last few weeks still have every right to be irritated by tube strikes, even if they won't have any discernible effect on them.

And that's all I've learnt so far. Ta-ra.


Cheshire Cat said...

Most impressive, Mr ALS. Do you favour the lycra look?

AdLand Suit said...

That, Miss Cat, would undoubtedly be revealing too much...

AdLand Suit said...

I have had further thoughts, that I shall proceed to share.

1. There are two types of road-users out there. Those that actively hate cyclists, and those that don't. The latter are much more dangerous, because the former will at least know that you're there. The others will kill you accidentally.

2. Most car drivers are nice, most bus drivers are stressed, most cab drivers seem to view you as a threat to their livelihood that must be destroyed, and most white van drivers deserve the cliché. The most dangerous people on the road to you, the cyclist, though, are other cyclists - they don't make a sound, they don't have brake lights, they rarely indicate (if at all) and they will always forget that you are there. In my relatively brief experience, another cyclist is much more likely to kill you than anything with an engine, even if it's inadvertent. (Something with an engine is likely to be their weapon of choice.)

real men write long copy said...

People new to cycling always think it's their head they need to protect. It's not. It's your ass. Trust me, your butt may be bearing up just fine right now but when winter comes, haemorrhoids are never far behind.
If you haven't already, get yourself some padded shorts. Prevention is better than cure my friend, trust me on this.

AdLand Suit said...

RMWLC, you are a wise man - and these beauties are currently protecting my posterior:

I'd forgotten how much cycling hurts down there. I soon remembered.

real men write long copy said...

Just when I thought we had enough to worry about:

AdLand Suit said...

Christ on a bike. So the things you really need to protect are you ass and your penis. Noted.

日月神教-向左使 said...