Good morning, Albert

Albert memorial

Yesterday morning I succumbed to temptation, stayed in bed longer than I should have and ended up catching the tube to work. It was horrendous. By the time I got to work — 15 minutes late because of delays to my journey — I had my grumpy head on. It certainly did not set me up in the right frame of mind for the day ahead.

Today I was determined to cycle in. Forget the warmth of the duvet, just get on the bike and and DO IT.

And I did.

In the icy wind.

But the sun was out and the sky was blue — and it felt good to be out and about, making my way to work on my own terms under my own steam.

The traffic was quiet, as it usually is on a Friday, so my cycle in was pleasant and quick. I even had time to stop by the Albert Memorial for a quick snap (see above). I missed saying hello to my old friend, Albert, yesterday — and I’ll look forward to waving at him again on my way home tonight…

Getting my motivation on

Cycling at this time of year is difficult. It’s cold, often wet, occasionally windy, and always dark. The last thing I feel like doing at 7am is getting on the back of my bike, exposed to the elements, when there’s a lovely warm duvet I could be snuggled under for another hour.

The trick, I’ve discovered, is to not check the weather forecast in advance. And it’s better if I simply get out of bed when the alarm goes off and get myself dressed for cycling WITHOUT LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW TO SEE WHAT THE WEATHER MIGHT BE DOING. If I know it’s raining (or going to rain) I’m less inclined to want to cycle.

And anyway, once I’m dressed up warm and (relatively) water-proof in my cycling kit, it doesn’t really matter what the conditions are like.

It also helps to remember that when I’m finally out on the road — with my headlight and tail lights flashing, and my bike bag toting my breakfast and a change of clothes  — I’m going to feel like this:

What cycling feels like

Image tweeted by @Patsykins_X

And when I  get to work super early, feeling motivated and keen to tackle anything that might come my way, I know it’s all been worth it.

Start the year as you mean to go on

Victoria monument

Victoria Monument, out the front of Buckingham Palace, which I cycle past twice a day

After not having ridden my bike for several months, I dragged my trusty hybrid out of storage and cycled into work every single day last week. I loved it.

Admittedly, when the alarm went off at 7am on Monday morning I really just wanted to snuggle back under the duvet. I’d had 15 days off over Christmas and New Year, and had spent my time masquerading as a sloth. I’d gone for a 5-mile walk every day, but I’d rarely gotten out of bed before noon.

But despite the shock of having to get up in the dark — and cycle in the dark — it didn’t take long to get back into the swing of it.

By week’s end I’d cycled 65 miles in total and burned more than 2,700 calories; I’d survived torrential rain (on Wednesday morning), the most beautiful sunrise that bathed everything in gold (on Thursday morning) and crosswinds (on Friday evening); my thigh muscles were very sore and my tummy muscles were killing me, but the sense of achievement was wonderful. Now, let’s hope I can keep it up…