In the warmth of summer I bought a bicycle. I was smitten with my purchase: an absolute bargain I’d found on Gumtree and travelled (rather traumatically) into the depths of Thurrock to retrieve.
En route to each destination its raised handlebars gave me a ladylike and graceful silhouette. The envy of all onlookers as I travelled with ease; the wind in my hair (under my helmet) and breeze on my skin.
As lovely as this all was, the less romantic reason for purchase was because I had a new job and was too poor to even think about buying any kind of motorised vehicle to get me there. I had to make my gorgeous summer bike push through to the autumn months and beyond.
On the evening before my first day at the job I made sure everything was road-friendly, including myself. A super bright waterproof fluorescent jacket from TKMaxx was an investment worth making, although I’m pretty sure you could track me from space due to its incredible yellowness. With LED lights and reflectors aplenty I was ready to embark on my first ever cycle to work.
I’m not sure whether September constitutes as an autumn month, as it is usually pretty glorious throughout. Soon after I’d left the house I found that my super bright waterproof fluorescent jacket of yellowness was totally unnecessary. The breeze I once felt on my skin was somehow non-existent due to odd humidity… but mostly because of my jacket. As I pedalled up inclines (that I was so not expecting) I knew that I would turn up to work with a red face and tired legs. Not the ideal combo for your first day. Luckily, I was well prepared time-wise which ensured I had long enough to sort out my face and body before meeting anyone important. (Lunge!)
Since then, I have experienced many a-weather. My helmet has ‘vents’ which are basically just holes for rain to seep through, as they don’t provide as much ventilation as you would hope. Thankfully, I don’t really mind a frizzy hair-do or a blotchy face, and nor do my employers.
Nowadays, my daily commute is a far cry from the busy, squeezed, squished – and no doubt delayed – horribleness that was my train journey into London for the year I worked in the West End. In those cramped carriages where everyone seemed to blame you for the delay, the lack of seats, the lack of space and air to breathe. So. Much. Tutting. All anybody’s really frustrated about is the fact that teleportation still hasn’t been mastered!
Every time there’s a chill in the air, or drizzle in my hair, I remember the hours I spent cooped up breathing in other people’s germs as I realised I was going to be late to yet another meeting or dinner or party. When I pedal through puddles, bump over potholes or struggle uphill my bicycle does its best to keep me looking ladylike as I travel through my own space. And despite the pollution, I’m actually quite happy to be outside as the sun rises and the pinky autumn sky is revealed. I can take my time, be on-time and have quite a nice time at the same time.
As winter approaches, I’m still smitten, knowing that now I’m the envy of those stuck in endless traffic in their cars as I whizz by in my super bright waterproof fluorescent jacket with the wind (and rain) in my hair.
|About Kathryn Beadle
Kathryn graduated 3 years ago with a first class honours degree in Media Practice & Theory. Since then she’s been writing about her experiences as a young (ish) professional (of sorts). Her personal blog is of real variety, focusing on the representation of women in popular culture, in sports, as well as documenting her travels she has undertaken over the past year.