Keyworkers Lead The Way
(Commuting under Covid.. and afterwards)
Sue: I never thought I would be brave or energetic enough to cycle to work again after a 30 year break but these strange times call for action! As a junior doctor I regularly braved the London traffic to cycle to work but with increasing age (and weight) came decreasing activity.
I’m now a Consultant Radiologist at Northern General Hospital, and one of my close colleagues has been trying to tempt me back into cycling for some years. The pandemic has resulted in much quieter roads and more flexibility at work relating to start and leave times.
The fantastic Easter weather and my frustration with “The Lockdown” and the limited opportunities “to get out” eventually encouraged me to give cycling to work a go…. And I am glad that I did.
The traffic was light and non- threatening, I soon felt back in full control of my now numerous bike gears and I had a marvellous sense of freedom (and self-righteousness!) as I cycled along.
I had been worrying about a number of issues:
How early in the morning would I need to set off for work? I had no idea how long the journey might take and did not wish to be too late. As it turned out, the journey to and from work was quicker than my usual car journey pre pandemic lockdown.
What route should I take? There are numerous bike routes in Sheffield but I don’t know where they all go. I took advice from my colleagues and found a good route avoiding big roundabouts and busy intersections.
Would I get knocked off my bike? At work, I had seen a number of serious cycling injuries amongst colleagues (and patients).
Would I be able to make it? There are a number of significantly sized hills between home and work. I did not want to arrive as a sweaty and exhausted mess. I had some anxiety cycling at snail’s pace past a group of fit young men on a building site just at the point of the steepest hill on the trip. Although I felt very self-conscious, they did not give me a second glance, so I need not have worried.
Would my bike get stolen? There are no spare lockers to secure my bike at work. I have had one bike stolen from outside my office already.
Would I be in control of my bike that I ride very infrequently and remember how all the gears worked? I did not want to fall off in traffic, or worse, in front of someone I knew!
Would there be somewhere at work to shower and change ready for the working day?
As it turned out, none of the above concerns were much of an issue. It was a great cycle ride and I felt really pleased with myself that I had managed the journey with no issues.
I am still a fair-weather cyclist but plan to continue cycling to work over the summer months….and who knows after that!