Drunk cycling

It’s funny how in Cambridge it’s totally acceptable to cycle drunk. There’s no other way of getting around, so everyone does it. I’ve never, ever thought to myself, “hmm, perhaps the fact that I am too drunk to see means I should walk instead of cycling”. At the very most, I might not cycle next to the river as a slight concession to safety. I’ve had some pretty awesome ‘incidents’ over the years. I’ve been tangled up in chains, I’ve been over the handlebars (the worst was twice in one night), I’ve cycled into lamposts, parked cars and gutters, I’ve just toppled over and fallen off… What larks. I actually consider myself quite a safe cyclist by Cambridge standards as I use lights and don’t cycle on pavements.

In London, things are different. People wear lycra to cycle, for a start. Lots of people even wear helmets! I rarely talk on the phone while cycling in London as I don’t have the requisite level of hand-eye coordination to not instantly die. It seems less acceptable to cycle while drunk, too. It occured to me while cycling round Elephant & Castle at midnight on friday that if I was working on a ‘glasses of wine drunk = lanes of traffic to negotiate’ ratio then it was all well and good… but perhaps I shouldn’t be. Perhaps I should be more sensible. I wouldn’t drink and drive, so perhaps I shouldn’t drink and cycle? At least in a car I would be wearing a seatbelt…

So… as I’ve had such excellent success with resolutions* this year, I have decided to add in another one. I wanted to wait until my birthday to enact this one but as that’s 23 days away, there are potentially 23 occasions where I could be run over, and be too drunk to notice. Therefore the resolution begins now: I am now officially a sensible cyclist who doesn’t cycle drunk. I’m going to build in a caveat: if I’m wearing shinpads, a helmet, elbow pads, and am wrapped totally in bubblewrap then it’s okay (you’ve got to get your kicks how you can). Otherwise, if I am seen drunk in charge of a bicycle then feel free to chastise me.

* A three-month review of my new year’s resolutions puts me at at about a 75% success rate, despite the mullet I appear to be sporting…

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