Thoughts on city cycling (winter edition)

I’ve been a cyclist in Dublin city for about six months now. Its definitely a great way to see a city and is green and healthy and all that. But some days it’s cold, and you’re likely to get rained on about once a week. Unfortunately, wet thighs and soggy socks tend to make urban exploration seem a little less important than, say, a towel and a mug of hot tea.

Its manageable though. Saloman boots, wet pants, rainjacket, gloves and a scarf have all been put to use the last few months. I’ve got good lights, but I don’t wear a helmet. I listen to podcasts on my iPod and I use a draughtmans paper clip to keep my right pant leg clear of the chain, which does the job quite well.

I’m lucky in that I’ve got a fairly safe and direct route to work along the canal. There’s a bike lane most of the way, and although bike lanes unfortunately don’t count for much on the mean streets of Dublin, it’s better than nothing. Paula’s daily journey through the city centre was a bit more treacherous than my commute, and she’s got the scars to prove it courtesy of a left-turning car that cut across her cycle lane without indicating, then sped off.

Best of all is weekend cycling, when it’s bright, you’re not in a rush, there isn’t as much traffic to battle, and you’re free to explore. I’m as useless with one-way systems on a bicycle as I am in a car, but at least on two wheels I can break the rules pretty easily or just hop off and walk.

And now winter is slowly melting off and giving way to spring, and very soon the evenings will start to stretch and dry out some more; ideal cycling conditions.

— 27 Feb 2007