I am back in London full time. I have actually been back since April but I have only recently got round to posting about it. I still have some settling in to do as I am steadily bringing a number of my goods back from Macclesfield.
I will miss being up in Cheshire, close to the Peak District and country life - as well as the chance to ride around the Manchester velodrome.
But I have to say I am glad to be in London. It is my favourite city in the world! I lived in Milan for a while, and in Paris for some time before then. Even though I have great memories of both of those places, there's nothing more satisfying than being in the place that you call home - a place that feels close to your heart, and a place that you can feel proud of - and I have to say that's how I feel about London!
So, now I'm back in London I can commute by bike to get to my place of work in Farringdon. It's not too far from Crystal Palace - I could do the ride in about 40 minutes, but I tend to take my time and avoid working up a sweat, and enjoy the views so it takes me nearer to 50 minutes. Being able to ride my bike over the river and enjoy views of St Paul's Cathedral, Tate Modern and the South Bank as I roll over Blackfriars Bridge, makes me feel lucky.
I also enjoy zooming down to Trafalgar Square, up the Mall and over to Hyde Park if I am doing something over there after work.
At rush hour during the summer it is like riding as part of a big organised ride, or a "critical mass" event. When waiting at the traffic lights There can easily be more than 20-30 cyclists all bunched into the box in front of the motorists. It's great and there's definitely a feeling of "safety in numbers."
People talk of there being friction between motorists and cyclists around London, but certainly at these times it doesn't seem so bad. There appears to be a better understanding between the two parties.
I like to think that all the work being done to raise the profile of cycling in London is making a difference. With the current roadworks taking place to build a new improved "cycle superhighway" and the recent directive from Transport for London to ban lorries from London which aren't installed with cycle safety measures I can see a definite improve in cycling compared with 5 years ago.
The recent Ride London event was also a great poster for cycling in the capital. Not only were there road races and cyclosportives for the seriously fit cyclists, but there was also a FreeCycle event for all the family - from kids on balance bikes to professional racers wanting a quick spin on the closed roads around Central London. Even my little 5-year old niece had a go!
It is true that London is still a long way to being like Amsterdam when it comes to cycle infrastructure and commuter cycling culture, but I think we are taking a step in the right direction.