Sixteen months now I’ve been cycling the easy 3.5 miles to work – only taking the bus or grudgingly accepting lifts in the heaviest rain or iciest mornings.
Throughout the frost and snow and British winds, every day I’ve passed a few friendly other folk also criss-crossing the town on their bikes. This is something I hardly ever saw last winter and it’s heartening. Indeed I was genuinely surprised at the great number of tyre tracks in the snow. (Note to council: this appears an effective bike counter.)
Autumn 2008, I would estimate I saw 3 or 4 times as many people on bikes each day than in autumn 2007. (I hear petrol prices went up or something.) Bikes are certainly getting more mainstream exposure too – TV especially – than I’ve noticed previously.
The winter’s subsiding now and I’m seeing masses more bikes. Of a heartening variety too. The chic and beautiful ‘style over speed’ folks, casual families pottering along on mountain bikes, lycra-wearing and highly focussed Tour de France wannabes, teenagers on fun little BMXs, the occasional sweet little folder…