A Nice Way to See London

Since I moved here, I’ve been whinging about getting a bike. I loved when I was able to do a bike commute in Chicago. It was faster than all other modes of transport in an urban setting and, you got to see a unique perspective of the world around you and it was a way to be fit while getting somewhere. I’ve been walking a lot in London but it’s amazing that, in an area that is as small as central London, it still felt like it takes 30 minutes to get 1 mile or 5 miles. Anything beyond that is like another world.

Well, bikes, like most things here, aren’t cheap. I wanted a decent used bike that I could ride hard and would still hang on. Alas, I wasn’t sure where to get such a bike. Most places were spiffy cycling shops with bikes of any quality starting at $400. Well, in honour of Bike Week, I stumbled upon a link to second hand bikes and, unlike the previous year, we found a couple that were near us that had a larger selection of bikes. Along with our friends Ben and Gerry, we tramped over to Camden Cycles and we all found what we want. Here’s the one I picked up:


It is an Apollo Jalapeno. Yes, a Jalapeno. It was cheap and will need some work, but I’ve ridden to work 5 of the last 6 work days and gone on rides of various distances on the weekends (more on that later). I’m really loving it. I now truly feel ok with the whole driving-on-the-left and I’m amazed at what a biking city London is. The cars (so far!) are very aware of the cyclists and at any intersection during rush hour, there will be a ton of bikes waiting for the light. The city has taken many through streets and done what they can carve bike lanes on the narrow ancient roads. And my 2 mile commute, which can balloon up to 40 minutes if the buses are running like shit, never takes more than 15 minutes. Next up, I find a bike co-op, get some cheap parts and make my bike a little more durable and reliable!

6 Responses to “A Nice Way to See London”

  1. Mom and Dad Says:

    Very spiffy color….what color did Carolyn get?

    Also, very glad to see that helmet hanging off the grips.

  2. Leaky Says:

    Nice to see you are wearing a helmet 🙂

  3. melissa k. Says:

    Guess since you got the helmet, you won’t be needing my services in the ED. Happy riding!

  4. matt Says:

    Man, my helmet is a hot topic! I’ve had that helmet for years even in Chicago. No way do I want to take on the gigantic cars of London without one 🙂

    Don’t worry Melissa, if I had a run-in, even with a Fiat, I might still need your services :-S

  5. dina Says:

    will you be going to critical mass?

  6. uncle mark Says:

    Hey Matt why is it every picture I see you in you are either eating or drinking. Wait till you hit the BIG 40. also what is this yellow bike when you have that bike up here at the lake.