A colleague recently asked why I cycle to work. Edinburgh is serviced by a host of bus routes, cycling in traffic can be dangerous, the weather is usually grim, and I own a car.
My reasons were very noble: it saves me money, on petrol, bus fares, etc. It’s greener (I may be inhaling deadly fumes but at least I’m not contributing to the problem). It’s quicker (my journey by bike takes half what it does by car). Cycling keeps me fit and, according to a recent Kings College study, slows the ageing process (yeah, 41 but I barely look a day over 39. Don’t believe the scientists on the ageing thing? Check out 90 year old Douglas Seale).
All perfectly valid but not quite the whole truth. You want the real reason I ride to work?
Cycling’s a blast. Most of us got our first bike as a kid. We didn’t want it for commuting, keeping fit or doing our bit to save the planet. A bike was (and mine still is) a toy and, like all toys, it was there to be played with.
|Hands up if you’re having fun|
It’s widely accepted that play is important for a child’s development but let’s not forget that it benefits adults too. Play provides a break from the stress of the job to which we are cycling; it raises endorphin levels, increases brain function and boosts creativity.
I can cope with the potholes, the bad weather and worse drivers because, most of the time, I’m having fun. It’s the sense of self-propelled speed, the freedom, the wind on your skin, the endorphin buzz – if I have to explain it then you’ve come to the wrong blog.
So, next time someone asks why I cycle to work I’ll be honest: because it’s fun. No shame in that. After all, what is it they say about all work and no play?