Bicycle Commuting in Glasgow

When you sit in a car, behind metal and glass, you experience the world with a protective layer between you and it. When you cycle, in the midst of sky and road, you experience the world by feeling it and being WITH it. I have very much discovered the truth of this as we’ve commuted first through London and then Glasgow on our bicycles.

Lest I make it sound like some dreamy adventure, I have definitely not always enjoyed it. Because the city is new, I don’t know where I am going most of the time. This means I can’t always anticipate sudden turns, or lanes to merge into, or cars to zip around. It doesn’t help that our GPS hasn’t been working and we’re following directions from an iPhone that talks to us through Tommy’s pocket.

Also, can we talk about riding on the left side of the road? It is one thing to navigate this in daylight, but a completely different challenge at night. There were a few times that I found myself turning into a pair of headlights. (if you’re reading this moms, we’re pros now and totally fine!) Cars here have been gracious and the roads are bicycle friendly, which is a major plus. There is an overpass above the freeway that has a ramp specially designed for bicycles. Pretty great.

I am also learning to add extra time to our commute to account for unlocking and locking our bikes, shedding or applying our warmth layers, reapplying deodorant and managing helmet hair. As someone who doesn’t have a very high patience level for all things fiddly, this is often a building source of frustration for me.

But then there are the moments when you are riding your bike along the city river and all the lights are glimmering across the water, or that rewarding feeling of weaving between cars who are stuck at that red light forever, or the burn in your legs and the hunger in your tummy as you roll up to the pub, or feeling a part of everything that is alive and bustling and moving in a city. And then there is the fact that we aren’t paying for gas, or adding to pollution and traffic. We are using our muscles and breath and life to move us across roads and cities. And despite my occasional grumbles, I truly love and value that.