Friday, 17 December 2010


Have you read or heard of any of those online blogs that cyclists in London keep? Well as of two days ago I can positively say I get it. I mean, I totally get it. Before getting a bike in London I didn’t really have the urge to do so. What with the danger and the expense of actually getting a bike, I didn’t really see the benefit. Recently, however, I purchased a nice little cycla’ and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

I looked in many places for a good deal before I bought the bike (I’m a sensible man, I can do my research)…in the end however it transpired that the deal was done in a Bethnal Green underpass. I’m not going to pretend that this was ideal, but the goods were solid, and as far as I can determine, above board. My mate Matt met me to oversee this totally legit transaction and we immediately set off into the night. Now, I’ve had many bikes before, I’m no stranger, but the Bristol-Portishead cycle path will absolutely to no extent prepare you for Cambridge Heath Road. Have you got any idea how much Hackney Carridges hate cyclists? Well, you may well do, but as a pedestrian I had been happily going about my daily business unaware of the vehement scorn between these two opponents. A race, I may add, that taxi drivers are determined to win.

Now, taxi drivers might scare the shit out of you while your cycling, but in my own short experience I have to say that terror is an inherent part of why I am now a London cycla’ convert. Only a few short minutes into my cycling career I was faced with Old Street roundabout. The most important lesson I’ve learnt is that if you’re going to take on a roundabout, you have to go for it. You’ve got to get right in there and cycle right into the vortex, or else you’re going to find yourself clinging onto some barriers at the side of the road and eventually crossing this roundabout by going over every single zebra crossing. I have done both. However, I went into that roundabout screaming inside like a little girl; and I came out the other side a new man. Literally every five minutes whilst cycling I enter into a circumstance that could actually end in my demise. But you know what? Its fucking fantastic. Passing over Tower Bridge, illuminated and vast later that evening I thought ‘London, you are my bitch-boy.’ I know this isn’t a very noble, articulate sentiment, however the point here is that this thought did really pass through my mind and I’m proud to say that the sentiment still rings true. The cold air freezes your lungs, turns your hands into gnarled claws and as your legs begin to seize, you have never felt so liberated.

Morgan Hill-Murphy

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