Meet Birmingham based Sky Ride Leader Albert who shares his bike commuter story.
Name: Albert Biggs
Workplace: Birmingham City Council - Birmingham
Above: Al's commuting bike - bedecked for winter commuting duties on the mean streets of Birmingham.
Tell us about your commuting rig: Specialized Sirrus 2012. Steel Fork - Very comfortable for pot-holed roads of Birmingham. Blackburn Quandrant front light, Smart Bespoke front and rear light set. Blackburn Mars rear light. Race Blades Half Mudguards. Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700c x 28c tyres for the roads of Brum.
What’s your commute like? Urban, undulating, rollercoaster route of five miles across south Birmingham right into Birmingham City Centre, 10 mile road trip. Major roads mean having wits about you but good commuter speed is the reward.
Short sharp hill at the middle and end going into work means a nice little high paced start on way home.
How many days a week do you commute by bike? I work four days per week and usually cycle every day.
What do you enjoy the most about bike commuting? I enjoy the fact that "turning small circles" with my feet can equal big returns for my health, pocket, and my general well being. Door to door it is quicker than bus, car and even the train (due to the walking time to and from station - too close to drive but enough of a walk to lose time to bike).
Also love the frame of mind and improved mental capacity it gives me when I arrive at work. It is also good knowing no matter how bad the traffic and weather, I can always get home pretty home pretty much the same time, putting aside major mechanical issues.
What’s your least favourite thing about commuting by bike? Poorly build new roads that fall apart first sign of winter, kamikaze cyclists who payment hop, run red lights and don't protect themselves and driving commuters, who are half a sleep and drive in auto pilot, then realise you are there after they almost hit you.
What are your main reasons to commute by bike? Most people don't like going to work but cycling to work has me arriving feeling awake and alert. Going home is even better as I can leave the stresses of the day on the road on my way home. By the time I am home, I am stress free.
I work in the City so driving and parking is expensive. Trains are often delayed and continually go up in price. Buses are slow and smell! So cycling is the the best option, right?
Finally I am serious about my health and cycling forms part of my fitness routine. I hope by cycling other ethnic minorities with take it up too.
Have you got any funny or interesting bike commuting stories or experiences to share? I made the switch to spd pedals for commuting and not just for my mountain bike. However mountain bike courses don't have stop lights, during my first week of commuter use, I came to a stop at some lights, started to track stand but lost concentration and keeled over before I could clip out. Whilst laying on my side embarrassed but still clipped into my pedals, a couple of cars checked if i was ok and then told me they are putting it on YouTube...
What’s your killer commuting tip? Knowing your route inside out from both cyclists and drivers point of view. That way you learn when and where to put yourself, what man hole covers are raised or dipped, what order the lights change in and most importantly what drivers do on that route.
Are you a British Cycling Member? If so how does your British Cycling membership support your bike commuting? Yes I am. British Cycling is making more people cycling conscious and working with Sky to help increase cycling numbers. It is why I joined and became a Sky Ride leader.
Send us your Commuter Profile!
We want to know about your commuting experiences; how far you go, why you choose to ride, your killer tips and your commuter grumbles. Download, complete and email back your commuter profile to email@example.com and tell your story. Feel free to include a photograph/photographs of you and your trusty commuting bike!