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You never forget how to ride a bike

During COVID-19 we have seen a greater up-take of cycling in the borough with both children and adults making the most of a reduction in commuter traffic and cleaner air. These cyclists include children and adults who have recently learned how to ride a bike as well as elderly residents who have been cycling for decades.

As the old saying goes ‘you never forget how to ride a bike’. We recently spoke to two residents, Laura and Asha, who both stopped cycling years ago but have recently rediscovered their love of cycling after a long hiatus.

Laura says:

I was 13 when I got my first “proper” bike – a Moulton Mini – so that I could start a daily paper round. It takes confidence to cycle round on 14-inch wheels. I was a weedy teenager and it required stamina to complete my round.

But I loved cycling and went everywhere on that bike. And then, some years later, my younger brother was killed on his bike by a lorry pulling out. The impact on my family was huge.

After that, I was too nervous to cycle in London. I moved to Lewisham 25 years ago and relied mainly on walking and the buses for local travel. A few years ago, staying with friends in Amsterdam we explored the city on their bikes. It is a city made for cycling. I had forgotten how exhilarating cycling was. When we got home, I bought a new bike with big wheels.

I am now in my fifties and love exploring on my bike.  The new cycle ways that are being developed by Lewisham Council and Transport for London have given me a new lease of life and peace of mind. The sense of exhilaration is still there and, with so many dedicated quiet back streets and cycle routes to explore, I can cycle with confidence again. Ladywell to Beckenham Place Park with a picnic – a great day out.

Asha

I used to cycle until about 20 years ago. After lockdown I got my bike out of the shed, got it serviced and started riding again. I wanted to get some exercise and found it much easier to keep the correct social distance from people than when I was walking on the pavements.

Now I’m really enjoying it and find I can travel longer distances than if I was just walking, to visit friends. At first I was worried about being unfit but my fitness is gradually building up.

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