Cycling across London is my daily ritual. 10 kilometers marks the start and the end of my weekdays, and it’s equally important as my 2 cups of coffee to both of which I would proudly confess my addiction.
If you've ever cycled in London during peak hours, you'd know it isn't a walk in the park. The roads are never wide enough. The iconic red buses are like giant, blind monsters always blocking the way. The cars are always too close, and pedestrians seem to ignore every one except themselves.
I still love it, though. It’s simply the best way to move around in the city. I also find we, as entrepreneurs, can learn a lot from the chaos of cycling in London.
We've got to be nimble when a black cab suddenly pulls over, or when a driver decides to swoosh the door open without looking.
We've got to explore, to find the safest, fastest or the most scenic routes to get to our destination. The journey matters as much as our destinations.
We've got to be daring. It looks more dangerous than it really is to cycle in the city. It takes courage to give it a try for the first time, and you'll easily fall in love with it.
We've got to know how to fall, and most importantly to recover from falling. I've learnt how to ride better and safer after every crash I had.
We've got to be visible. The better people can see us, the higher chance we have to survive.
We've got to know the rules, and occasionally, we might need to break them in order to create new ones. Because some rules are outdated, we need to challenge the status quo for a better future.
We've got to be prepared for any weather conditions. Find the right tools that work for you like the special waterproof kits and quirky mudguards to reduce the damage.
We've got to realise the risk of investing in bikes we love, for the better the bike is, the more likely it could be stolen by the heartless thieves.
Most London cyclists are very competitive, and that’s what makes the rides exciting. The daily commute feels like a race more than anything. Because how dynamic the roads are, it requires great strength, reflexes and a good deal of luck to spot which gap between the cars will lead to the grand opening and surpass everyone else before the light turns green.
Although we compete against each other, the London cyclists also form a community. Having cycled for more than two years now, it’s incredible to see how the number of cyclists has grown — just like the startup scene in London — the more cyclists there are, the more we cannot be ignored. I hope that our collective presence has started to make a real influence.
Cycling for many of us is not just a mean of transportation but a statement to a better self, better environment, and a better world. Just like entrepreneurs, we have chosen not to pick the easy way but to challenge the status quo and to fight for the rightful ownership of the road.
Are you a cyclist, an entrepreneur, or both? What are your thoughts?
Bonus: This gorgeous data-mapping video is a collaboration between giCentre at City University London and TfL. It records a journey of the Boris Bike — “Bike 12248" — by hundreds of riders taking turn to move the bike around London.
Find out more about the video here
Header Image: The Silk Road by Joe Dunckley | flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Have a nice ride~ @julietchen