Friday, 11 December 2009

Profile of a London cyclist: The Not-So-Cool Commuter

The Not-So-Cool Commuter tries her best, she really does, and she loves cycling to work, but there's the element of the shambolic about her.

She rides a sturdy hybrid or a mountain bike - less chance of punctures. Unfortunately the Not-So-Cool-Commuter's choice of bike means she has a top speed of approximately two miles per hour. Despite her painfully slow progress, she is always inevitably sweaty and out of breath. She watches, astonished, as Cool Commuters, Lycra-ed Ladies and Fixies simply breeze past her even though her legs seem to be working at twice the rate of theirs.

The Not-So-Cool-Commuter doesn't wear Lycra and cycling shorts - she feels she's quite happy cycling in her own regular gear. More often than not, this comprises of a pair of tatty leggings or tracksuit bottoms and a series of cheap tops from Primark made from that kind of fabric that makes you sweat just looking at it, and that begins to smell within about five seconds of being put on. She wears a helmet but it probably doesn't fit properly, and her jacket is too hot and not waterproof.

The Not-So-Cool-Commuter is also incapable of judging the correct level of layering to match the weather. She's always too hot, but refuses to take off her hoodie as then she'll be too cold. Her attire is a curious combination of sports-casual and she wears trainers, but often finds they are too chunky to fit in the toe-clips on her pedals.

She lights her bike up like a Christmas tree but as she fitted the lights herself, more often than not they slip round the handlebars and serve no useful purpose. Her average speed is brought down still further by the fact her brakes stick - again, she tried to fix them herself but couldn't quite manage it. She carries a rucksack or has a pannier on the rack of her bike, which is always stuffed full of a change of clothes, towel, makeup and other equipment for showering and changing at work. However she often forgets to pack a bra and has to sit at work freshly-showered in a soggy sports bra she's sweated into on her commute in. She always carries a map, but still manages to get lost with alarming frequency.

How do I know so much about the Not-So-Cool Commuter? Well, I am half-proud and half-ashamed to admit, I am one.

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