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iPodding.

20/08/2008

So I haven’t ridden in to work in a couple of weeks. The reason has nothing at all to do with the weather – I am, after all, an Intrepid Commuter, and have regularly cycled through the worst of what London’s weather system has to throw at me.

Instead, I’ve spent the last two weeks commuting in on the bus. Why? Because I bought myself a new iPod, and have been revelling in the pleasures of a half an hour lazily cochetted in the corner of the 453, listening to excellent podcasts (courtesy of, amongst others, Adam and Joe, This American Life and The Guardian) and doing the crossword on the back of G2.

It takes me almost twice as long as it would if I were cycling, but the attraction of the ipod is too strong at the moment. I’m hoping that the novelty is going to wear off – at the very least, I’m writing this blog about cycling in London, and my current habits have lead to a real dearth in posting. Moreover, I’m missing the pleasures of whizzing through traffic with the wind in my hair, and the very real buzz I get when I stroll in to the office, Brompton folded up beside me, blood pumping nicely through my veins.

But the whole experience has got me thinking – how compatible are my two pleasures? Do cycling and technology really mix nicely?

The argument for wearing a helmet has been written about a great deal recently, and its a discussion that has some reasonably well defined grey areas. However, I don’t see that listening to an ipod at the same time as negotiating London’s congested roads and notoriously difficult drivers is something that can be so easily justified. Surely doing so is a recipe for disaster, as cycling in London must require a great deal of concentration.

Perhaps in other parts of the world more suited to leisurely cycling, ipodding would be more acceptable. I’m sure savvy Copenhagenite cyclists must use their ipods all the time? I’d love to know if anyone does.

But the time for cycling must return – especially now that the British summer is all but over. The dampness, the slick wet roads, the misty rain that fogs over one’s spectacles – these are the pleasures only an intrepid commuter can experience!

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