There is such a great sense of achievement associated with riding a bike. I was lucky enough to upgrade recently to an adults bike, and with the addition of some lights and a basket have been finding it very useful, and exhilerating. I have been able to test myself mentally and physically over the past few weeks, and found that - yes, I can ride on the road, yes I can ride to work and yes I can get myself up that rather daunting hill.
I'm learning little tricks of the trade by watching other people and chatting with my bike riding neighbours. There's definately a growing bike community in the inner city. I'm sure that if we weren't all so intently looking out for cars or peddling like crazy, we'd wave at one another in the same way that MG drivers do.
There are numerous pluses about riding a bike - apart from it being good for my self esteem it's also good for the environment and it's great for my health. And I hardly pay anything for buses anymore! A few years ago a very talented friend of mine wrote a musical, and one of the characters was keen to learn to ride a bike. At the end of the musical, she achieves her goal, and sings the following words:
"You've got air conditioning and we've got .... air,
You've got six cylinders and we've got strong legs,
You're burning petrol, but I think we're on a winner,
You're getting fat while we burn last night's dinner"
Now I know exactly how that character felt. Next time you see somebody on a bike amongst the traffic, there's no need to feel that they're missing out - know that there are many benefits, and they're probably feeling sorry for you!