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Bike Gamer - Anechka

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Cycling and I have a long history. I've been riding since I was a toddler, and I still have my treasured (but now very battered) Marin Bobcat Trail bike that Santa gave me when I was 10 or 11.

It wasn't until I moved to Amsterdam in 2008 that I really got back into it all again, after a break of a few years. Of course, the Netherlands is probably the most bike friendly nation on the planet. And I absolutely loved that fact. Me, Amsterdam and my bike worked pretty great together.

Now I'm back in the UK and I want to keep that love of cycling rekindled, so I made a pact that I would start cycling more once I'd moved into my new house and everything was settling down. You lucky people get to read about how I'm getting on with this quest.

So. Letís start with a little bit about my time in Amsterdam. I frequently cycled in city traffic at all times of day (I have distinct memories of far too many 4am tipsy rides home), and it was fine. The thing is, Amsterdam has dedicated cycle paths, and bike-tolerant motorists. If you're a cyclist there, you even get your own traffic lights. Not quite the treatment you get on a bike over here.

I'm hoping that I can recondition myself and get used to cycling on UK roads, rather than looking through rose tinted specs at happier times in Amsterdam, where it was all lovely and fun every second of my cycling day. Of course, many of you will have realised that the main issue here is my confidence. I need to build it up again after having it so easy riding around Amsterdam.

I'm not a shy cyclist by any means. In true Dutch style, I've cycled in mini-skirts and heels, holding umbrellas and several shopping bags with someone on the back, balancing precariously on the pannier rack. Well, maybe not all at once but you get the gist. Confidence as a cyclist really shouldn't be an issue for me, and yet I find myself putting off that first cycle commute. All 15 minutes of it.

I've come to the conclusion that perhaps I need to think of that first ride to work as a bit of a game: namely one where I get to work on time, in one piece, with as few insults as possible being hurled at me along the way. I do well with games; I don't worry about something if itís just a game and I don't get upset or angry if it doesn't work out the first time. All in all, I think this is a very good attitude to adopt when cycling. Although, letís not be too blasť about all this, I still want to make it through the traffic alive. Unlike a game, I can't just get up and go again if I accidentally get squashed... Letís hope I can re-attain some of the continental indignance sharpish, and use it assure anyone in doubt that when I'm on my bike I mean business.

Hopefully by next time I'll have lots of fun tales to tell you about my first attempts at biking to work!

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Written by Tim Pestridge

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Tim Pestridge writes the Bike Gamer column.

"I like bikes and video games because they both spark my imagination and provide seemingly infinite possibilities and just generally make me smile."

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