Cycling vs. driving – Part II

Well, I’ve gone and got myself some new wheels – two, rather than four. I am in no position to afford a new car, and frankly I don’t want one. As I indicated in a previous post, I am determined to make a transition to a healthier lifestyle. Whether that means obliterating a car completely from my life has yet to be determined. Nice bike, isn’t it? And where, pray tell, is it sitting? That happens to be my office at the school. Yes, I have finally got off my backside and pedalled my way to work. I intend to keep this up, come rain or shine.

I was a little self-conscious cycling past school pupils on the way to work, knowing how they can sometimes react in an over-the-top fashion to the sight of anything out of the ordinary. A member of staff on two wheels might provoke a similar reaction to news of aliens landing at the White House. Okay, now I’m being over-the-top, but you know what I mean: “Gasp! It’s Mr. Sloan on a bike!”

I could have fixed up my old bike, but I took the notion to get a new one. It’s nice to ride a bike that you can feel some trust in. The chain on that old one used to let me down regularly; I was always afraid to lift my bum from the seat when pedalling hard, for fear that the pedals would slip, then my groin and the frame would have a painful close encounter. The new bike was £200. I could have bought a cheap one for £75, but I thought I’d go for quality. It hardly breaks the bank. When you think about it, £75 is little more than one tank of diesel in my 4×4’s engine; little more than 350 miles drive-time. Amazing how we throw our money away.

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8 thoughts on “Cycling vs. driving – Part II

  1. praest76 says:

    Been meaning to fix up my own bicycle at some point. The only problem I had was my distrust of drivers. I was almost killed a few times in the past by people who were too busy on their cellular phones or sleeping behind the wheel to pay attention to where they are going.

    I think it needs new breaks and a new chain. At the moment I’m walking anywhere within a few miles. The girl friend works with people who get taxis for a half-mile trip into work in the morning. It seems ridiculous to me. Some folks are so bloody lazy.

  2. Ryan Sloan says:

    Darryl, Ryan here. I like your new bike. It is very nice. I am riding abike myself. It is new to me, but it was made back in the 1950’s I think. It is better to ride if you can. I know some people that wouldn’t ride for anything. They are the lazy ones. Don’t know how gas prices are over there, but it is $3.00 a gallon here in Kentucky. Have fun with your bike and be carefull.

  3. Darryl Sloan says:

    Peter,

    Yeah, it’s not as safe as it used to be on the roads. Before all the fancy hire purchase deals allowed 17-year-old boy-racers to sit behind the Four Wheels of Death.

    Just yesterday, some teenager almost made me drive into the back of a parked car, because he decided to overtake me at an inopportune moment.

    The only saving grace here in Portadown is that we have a cycle path close to where I live. But that doesn’t help me get to and from work.

  4. Darryl Sloan says:

    Ryan,

    Gas prices are horrendous here compared to the US. My dad went everywhere by bicycle for decades, and is a fit old guy as a result, so I’m aiming for the same long-term benefits … if I can avoid getting killed.

    When I was a kid, my mum would drive me crazy when parking at the shopping mall, always driving the car up the car park to search for a spot close to the entrance, instead of taking one of the many available spots further back, and walking a mere fifty metres.

  5. Chris says:

    Heh! 🙂 If you thought your mum was crazy, wait ’til you get over here and witness the insanity that is Walmart’s parking lot.

    Many people are so friggin’ lazy, they will drive around and around the parking lot at Walmart looking for someone who’s parked close to the doors and appears to be preparing to pull out of their parking spot. Then, they’ll stop the car in the middle of the parking lane, stick their indicator on, and just wait until the other person frees up the spot.

    It’s so retarded. I’ve seen many who will even wait on someone to load a trolley full of groceries into their trunk, all the while creating a traffic obstruction and pretending like nobody else exists. They’ll still be waiting when I’ve driven past, parked 70 yards up the parking lot, and am walking back down to the store.

    I guess, when you’re 300+ lbs of pure blubber, you want to minimize the distance from the car to the store so the walk to find one of the motorized granny carts doesn’t kill you (this is another phenomenon I’ll have to show you).

  6. Darryl Sloan says:

    In comparison, when I was on holiday in Canada, I remember parking lots being very considerate places. Drivers would always stop to allow pedestrians to cross. I was amazed, because it was nothing like the driver attitudes back home (including my own).

  7. James says:

    I used to ride my bike to work everyday. I worked nightshift so there wasn’t that may people on the road on my way home. Just a few drunks 🙂 I sometimes miss being able to do that, but being 13 miles from work now makes that difficult. Especially without a good way through the city. The best I do now is to drive my 1983 Yamaha Midnight Virago. It still uses gas, but not as much as a car.

    If you like the story of people rushing for the closest parking spot, then you’ll like this photo: http://servemx.com/images/gym.jpg. Only in America… I personally try to park farther away when shopping. A long time ago, I read Bruce Lee’s book “Tao of Jeet Kune Do”, and it said to always take advantage of getting exercise where you can. That included walking up stairs instead of an escalator or elevator, and parking further away from work. I used to park over a mile and a half away from my job, but that sucked in the winter. Still, it was a good daily workout.

  8. Darryl Sloan says:

    Amusing photo! And I like Bruce’s attitude. I am actually dangerously close to doing away with the car forever, and simply roughing it in the bad weather. I mean, kids rough it all the time. On my way to work each day, I pass hundreds of them walking to the local college and senior high, in all kinds of weather conditions. And until I was about twenty-five, I simply didn’t own a car; I did everything by bicycle.

    Regarding shopping, I tend to park further away simply to avoid other car owners slapping their door into mine when they open it.

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