Jeremy Riggs' blog, Jezzers Jaw Jabberings, is subtitled "Pointless blatherings on anything and nothing -- mainly nothing". Yet as a fellow London cyclist I find that his cycling posts -- especially this one -- are particularly erudite and so I thought I'd subject him to the same terrible 10 questions I've asked other cycling bloggers over the past six weeks or so...
How long have you been commuting by bicycle, and what made you decide to do it?
only just returned to
commuting by bike in the New Year. I’d wanted to give it a go for
ages but decided to start when the company I work for joined the
Government-backed Cycle-To-Work scheme. I used to ride to work when
living in Montserrat
in the Caribbean some years ago. Then I needed a mountain bike for the
as many of the roads were pretty rough and ready and steep. I still
my mountain bike and before signing up for the new bike made sure I
up the worst hills on the way to work.
One of the other incentives for getting back on a bike was searching through the blogosphere and noticing how many other people do it on a regular basis.
Can you give a brief description of your route? (ie. distance, terrain, traffic conditions etc)
My journey is roughly 12 miles (if I don’t get lost) and is all on road. There is a fair bit of traffic throughout the journey, although mostly slow-moving building up when I go through Peckham/Camberwell and also near London Bridge. I did use a cycle-track from Dulwich through to Denmark Hill but have found an easier and quicker route.
What's the best thing about commuting by bicycle?
The knowledge that whatever the conditions and whatever the traffic then I will pretty well always take the same time in; the adrenaline rush when you kick into a decent speed; the wind in your hair; the sense of achievement; the inch off of my waist; no more being squashed into a train; no more buying train tickets.
And the worst?
Restricts the after work social life a little –- though reducing the alcohol intake is no bad thing. Also the ribbing from some colleagues about my ‘tights.’
What sort of bike do you ride?
I plumped for a hybrid –- a Genesis Day 02 (2007) –- straight handlebars, 27 gears, light as a feather, Shimano everything, and a few bits of Carbon-fibre here and there. She’s called Genny.
What's your favourite piece of cycling kit/clothing/gadget?
I got a HelmetCam – a self-contained waterproof videocamera that is attached to my handlebars and just looks like a front light. It's made by Oregon Scientific –- ATC2K. I mean to record each journey and save it if there is any incident, although I normally forget to switch it on! The batteries only last about 90 minutes and I haven’t bought a big enough media card to record a whole journey.
Helmet or no helmet?
I wear a helmet but must admit that I don’t think it will be the slightest bit of help if involved in any serious accident; I would suggest that most people should wear one if only to encourage kids to wear them. Surely technology will change and then they will be more effective and those who have been used to wearing them will benefit.
Cycle lane or no cycle lane?
I think that there should be more cycle-lanes but I also believe that cyclists should not be pushed off the roads –- we should have equal rights to motorised vehicles.
Are you a member of any cycling organisations/clubs? If so, which ones?
I’ve joined the LCC and may join a local club if I start to ride more at the weekend. Although not an organisation in any sense of the word, I have thought about attending the Critical Mass on the last Friday of every month on the South Bank –- mainly for the camaraderie and that I think cyclist don’t get a good deal from the general public, government etc..
What would you say to convince someone who is considering commuting by bicycle to get on board their bike?
Just get on the saddle and give it a go.
You’ll be really tired for the first week or so but you’ll be
liberated from the daily bus or train commute, you’ll sleep better and
know that you are having a positive impact –- the carbon footprint of a
bicycle must be very small. The traffic will be better than you imagine; most
drivers do give you a good berth and are considerate
Jeremy Riggs claims not to have got over the shock of turning 40 (a few years ago) but is not letting age stop him from doing anything. He works in IT and has lived near Croydon, in Greater London, for the past 10 years. Before that he lived in Montserrat for about four years where the most dangerous traffic encountered were the cows tied up by chains which stretched across the roads. He once took part in an International Mountain Bike challenge and came second to last out of a field of about 60 persons (the last was 12 year-old lad from Puerto Rico). His blog is at www.jeremyriggs.com