Why I choose to ride in the gutter

Folks, I started riding a bicycle to work and back each day and, no, I haven't lost my licence, a bet, or my mind.

It's not so bad, even if I have to get up a little earlier and am developing callouses on parts of my body that I can't expose in polite company.

Plus, because it's an electric-assist pushie, this 51-year-old, born-again cyclist isn't arriving at work wheezing, with aching knees and lathered in sweat - most days.

Still, the one thing I don't like, apart from vicious magpies, rain, strong headwinds, humidity, rock-flicking trucks, roaming dogs, car doors suddenly flinging open, yobbos hurling abuse (or rubbish) at me... actually, what was the point I was trying to make?

That's right, the one thing I really don't like is pedalling on busy roads. I ride in the gutter. Even if there's a designated bike lane I'll ride in the gutter.

Basically, I'm not going to think that just because someone has painted a designated green lane with a white stencilled bicycle on it that I'm entitled to be on the road.

That green bike path is actually an express lane to becoming a chalk outline on the bitumen yourself.

Note: I also don't wear a fluoro vest while cycling for the same reason that clever ducks don't wear Target t-shirts during hunting season.

I did try riding on footpaths to avoid aggro traffic, but they were full of uppity pedestrians yelling at me to get back on the road. Then I cycled through a large gap between some mutt and its owner only to discover they were connected by a near invisible, retractable lead. The following few minutes were fairly... exhilarating.

So it's back to the gutter shuttle for me, dodging parked cars, drain grates, broken glass and litter.

I'll admit it's probably a bit silly to return to cycling at my age but as someone who is tighter than a rusty bike lock, watching fuel prices race up faster than my heart rate on a steep hill, I'm definitely not crazy.

Greg Bray blogs at gregbraywriter.wordpress.com. Find him on Facebook: Greg Bray - Writer

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