Your commuter profiles: Simon Lay


Simon from Manchester gets around a bit, regularly travelling to Antwerp, Mumbai, Qatar and Atlanta. Yet for him, two wheels and one gear is all he needs to get around, keep fit and stay happy.

Name: Simon Lay

Workplace: Mainly Manchester, but also London and St Albans. I also travel a lot, mainly Antwerp, Mumbai, Qatar and Atlanta at the moment.

Tell us about your commuting rig: Either an old Raleigh frame self converted to a fixie, or my OnOne Inbred which is rigged as a single speed.

When I travel I try to ride as part of the working day as well. In London I use the Boris bikes and I hire the Antwerp equivalent which are a funky chopper style that have bigger rear wheels than front.

"Turning up in the office when it snowed and realising myself and one of the other cyclists were the only ones to get in"

Simon on the all-weather reliability of the bike.

What’s your commute like? The basic commute to the centre of Manchester is 10km on flat, busy roads, most of which has no cycle lane. There is also an off-road car-free option along the canal that I use when it doesn't rain.

However as I am training to ride the Craft TransAlp, I often extend my commute as part of my training, on road this can take me out into Cheshire on a one to two hour ride. Off-road I can extend the commute as well as that takes me onto the Trans Pennine Trail.

On Monday I rode 70km of trails as my commute. It was ace! The new MTB trails at Clayton Vale near the Manchester Velodrome could introduce a new dimension to the after work commute!

How many days a week do you commute by bike? Every day that I can. Even when travel I hire bikes or take a bike with me on the train. My clients are used to me turning up on a bike and with a bit of forward planning I can do most of my business journeys by bike.

What do you enjoy the most about bike commuting? I can't say that cycling saves me a lot of money, but it does free up money to spend on bikes! I like the way that it clears my head, gives me thinking space and provides a clear break between home and work. I like that it allows me to fit event training into my every day life as well.

What’s your least favourite thing about commuting by bike? Pot holes, drivers that jump lights or block cycle lanes.

What are your main reasons to commute by bike? I started cycling to work after a trip to Mumbai. I learnt how many cars they were adding to the roads and realised that I didn't need a car, and yet those people did. So I figured, give mine up and ride instead.

Since then, fitness has become a key driver and now training for the TransAlp.

Have you got any funny or interesting bike commuting stories or experiences to share? Turning up in the office when it snowed and realising myself and one of the other cyclists were the only ones to get in as everyone else had failed due to snow on the roads. To the bike riders that was just a challenge!

What’s your killer commuting tip? Extend the ride. There are loads of canal towpaths and disused railway trails that can be ridden on in the UK and they crisscross our cities, so get on them and get exploring. Even if you just add 15 minutes or half an hour to your ride home on a summer's evening, it's fantastic!

Are you a British Cycling Member? If so how does your British Cycling membership support your bike commuting? I joined British Cycling because I started commuting by bike. I wanted the benefit of a bike specific rider insurance and legal support that comes with membership.

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