Bryony from Oxford is lucky to work for a cyclist-friendly employer, making it easy for her to integrate cycling into her work-day. Bryony enjoys avoiding Oxford's rush hour traffic and dodging the boredom of the turbo and the gym!
Name: Bryony Costin
Workplace: Oxford University Press (a brilliant employer for cyclists, with very secure bike parking, changing rooms, showers and even a very warm drying room so that you can dry your kit during the day and don’t have to put wet kit on for the ride home)
Above: Bryony's commuting bike, AKA 'Kenny'.
Tell us about your commuting rig: I use my winter bike for commuting to work. It’s a Kinesis Racelight TK2 called ‘Kenny’, with Ultegra wheels and orange tyres (pic attached). It’s got full mudguards of course as I ride through the bad weather.
What’s your commute like (how long, hilly, flat, on road, off-road both)? Depending on which route I take, it’s between 15 and 19 miles each way (all on road). There are a few lumps but it would be an exaggeration to call it hilly!
How many days a week do you commute by bike?
Generally about three times a week. The alternative is going by car and then Park & Ride, which can take just as long. But I need to do that sometimes, to take clean clothes into work and take the dirty ones home. Also, if I have an important meeting, I generally feel it’s better to arrive looking as though I haven’t been dragged through a hedge backwards. Even though we have brilliant shower and changing facilities at work, I must admit I still feel a bit on the bedraggled side on the days I ride to work, as I’m usually in a hurry go get ready!
What do you enjoy the most about bike commuting?
It’s a good way of getting some miles in and not having to sit in heavy traffic in and around Oxford. I like the fact that once I’m home, I don’t have to drag myself onto the turbo or (even worse) to the gym! I also have a couple of good friends who I ride with sometimes, so it’s quite sociable and nice that we can watch out for each other.
What’s your least favourite thing about commuting by bike?
Sometimes when it’s dark in the mornings and I wake up hearing the wind and the rain beating against the bedroom window, I really don’t like the thought of getting on the bike! Like others, I also get fed up with some car drivers who treat cyclists like second class citizens.
What are your main reasons to commute by bike? (e.g. to keep fit, to save money, etc)
It’s a good use of time, i.e. exercising while I would otherwise be in the car. And with fuel being so expensive at the moment, it does save me quite a bit of money.
Have you got any funny or interesting bike commuting stories or experiences to share?
On several occasions I’ve forgotten to bring key items of clothing with me. Imagine my horror the time when I got to work and realised I had no trousers or skirt with me! I found myself waiting outside French Connection in full lycra so that as soon as it opened I could buy something to wear! I’ve also forgotten important underwear garments from time to time. Ooops!
Another time I (as always) dutifully stopped at all the red lights on the way into Oxford. A cyclist kept riding straight through the red lights and each time they turned green I set off, overtook him and stopped at the next red light, only for the same thing to happen again. After about the third time, as I was passing him I told him on no uncertain terms that he should be stopping for the red lights. He looked confused and I realised he was wearing headphones and couldn’t hear, so I resorted to shaking my fist bossily at him. A few minutes later I arrived at work, let myself into the changing rooms and then I heard somebody walk in behind me. I turned round to find the red light jumper standing behind me. Didn’t realise he worked at the same place! Fortunately he didn’t turn out to be my new boss or anything…
What’s your killer commuting tip?
Get some really good lights. Spend more than you initially think you need to, otherwise you will only end up buying some better ones in the long run or giving up commuting in the winter! It’s really important to be able to see well if you are riding on unlit roads, and obviously for others to see you.
Are you a British Cycling Member? If so how does your British Cycling membership support your bike commuting? Yes. I feel better about the fact that there’s legal support and third party insurance, should I ever need it.
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