top of page
  • stevecowles

500 Bike Rides - Any Lessons?

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

Yesterday marked my 500th bike ride since my 40-year break from cycling, it was just a short dash for lunch on a workday but no matter. So, have I learned anything over this time? I think so and I’ve certainly dispelled some myths which I previously believed.

I got my ‘first’ bike (an ebike) to use for an occasional leisure ride but the effect on my lifestyle has been immense, 500 rides later and the car has gone, other bikes have arrived and my overall approach to life has fundamentally changed so maybe time to have a look at what I’ve ‘learned’. Please note that these lessons are based on my lifestyle, you may have different experiences

  • Can I get everywhere I need to by bike? No, I sometimes use the bus and I frequently use the train, sometimes I take my bike on it.

  • Is it cheaper than a car? Yes but I’d still spent over £6,000 once I’ve got tools (they are expensive), safety gear, lights, clothing and a couple of decent bikes. To date I have spent about £8.25 per day which is less than the £13.30 I would have expected to spend on cars, the big-spending is over now, I have all I need and I expect my bikes to last for quite some time which will bring the daily cost down significantly.

  • Will I go far? It is no good comparing distances with cars, I approach shopping etc in a very different way now, my average trip is around 8 miles although some are significantly longer.

  • Can I carry all my shopping? I can carry most of it and bought a cheap trailer and panniers so that I have a choice, I do get a monthly grocery delivery too.

  • Are bikes reliable? This is why I have two, they are reliable but require frequent maintenance, if one needs work I use the other to but me time, especially when the evenings are dark as I do my maintenance outside.

  • Will you feel like a prat shopping in lycra and a helmet? No idea, I don’t do lycra and take my helmet off before I go into shops.

  • Will you get wet? To date only 15% of my rides have been wet, I bought decent gear and it is not really a big problem. My lifestyle (I work from home) allows me to plan trips around the weather rather than fixed times for commuting.

  • Can you ride in the dark? Yes, modern LED lights are inexpensive and very effective, much like car lights.

  • Will you get cold? This is totally down to buying the right gear although I use the bus if the roads are icy.

  • Will you fall off? You will if you are as clumsy as me but it is happening less often these days.

  • Can I go up hills? Hence the ebike (I have a ‘normal one too’). I live at the top of a 300-foot climb, no problem and to date, I have climbed the equivalent of 48 vertical miles.

  • What parts will wear out? Brake pads are the main culprit, twelve sets to date.

  • What about punctures? Since I upgraded to puncture-resistant types I’ve has only one, today actually, I take a spare tube, a mini pump and tyre levers with me but rarely need them.

  • What about windy days? Frankly, they are a bit of a bugger but the ebike certainly helps.

  • Does traffic bother you? Some drivers are bad but the vast majority are not. I’m not the 8 stone timid type and most seem far more worried about me than I am about the. Yes, I’ve had a couple of confrontations, I'll make no apologies for that.

  • What was my best purchase? Apart from the bikes, it would be my Brooks sprung saddles, really game-changers and worth every penny.

  • Is it good for you? I'm certainly a lot fitter and I'd say that I'm happier with life too.

Well, here’s to the next 500.

6 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page