The Return Of The Cycling Commuter

Iโ€™m delighted to announce that as from tomorrow, I return to life as… a regular cycling commuter.

It is now nearly three years since I said goodbye to my colleagues at Gillotts School in Henley-on-Thames where, for most of the previous eight years I had regularly cycled to work. The act of doing so was instrumental in my decision to embark upon my first trans-continental cycle from Reading – where I was living at the time – to Brindisi in the south of Italy. The rest is history, kind of.

However, after completing the third European cycle from Spain to Norway, and upon returning to live in the county of my birth – Yorkshire – circumstances dictated that cycling to work became problematic. Reggie (the bike) was knackered from his 15,000 km of long-distance cycling, as was I. The purchase of a car made it an easy option to start driving when I secured a teaching job that would have necessitated some seriously steep hill climbing (or very long detours). Even when I moved to teach at a school nearer to home, I had lost the appetite to commit to cycle commuting. There were times when I did, but many times when I didnโ€™t.

Tomorrow I start a new job, at Square Chapel Arts Centre in the new cultural quarter of Halifax, looking after the volunteers. Until this afternoon I was one myself so it will be an interesting switch. That aside, the location of the arts centre and the hours that I will be working make it much easier to commit to cycling to work again. Not just occasionally, or even most of the time but ALL of the time. The act of doing so excites me just as much as the challenges of starting the new job itself.

My final shift as a volunteer has been this afternoon and I cycled. Iโ€™ve often cycled here before but today I was intrigued as to how the cycle compares with that of my previous life down south from Reading to Henley. Here is is:

A little shorter than before (11 km), but just as hilly. I should be able to cut the 30 minutes down to size as the weeks go by. One key difference, however, is the destination. Henley-on-Thames has its charms, but Gillotts School has limited aesthetic merit. The location of Square Chapel Arts Centre next to the newly restored Piece Hall (look out for it in the Tour de Yorkshire next year), is aesthetically stupendous! If an incentive were needed, Halifax has a big one…

UPDATE: The cycle home

Slightly shorter – a different route from West Vale – but with a longer climb through Stainland village. It certainly gets the heart thumping!

Categories: Cycling

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