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This Autumn I decided to take my level of fitness to a new level and try to ride a bike to work, at least when it isn’t raining, isn’t too cold or I do not have to be in the office too early or go to some event in the evening. Although there are many variables, I can guarantee that whenever I manage to do it, it hurts. And people believe I am a bit crazy when I say what I do. I started riding a bike gradually: the first stage happened over one year ago with a Boris bike – bicycle sharing, solid and heavy – and it soon became my preferred form of transport to cover those 5/6 kilometres that separate Chelsea Bridge Road from the City. A simple and ingenious scheme called Cycle to work – many companies, including mine, offer a free bike or facilitate the purchase of a super discounted one – convinced me to upgrade and get a proper woman’s bicycle with lightweight luggage. And of course the helmet, lights and high-visibility bands. The same company then decided to move my team to an area that was used to be a swamp until the Thatcher era, and which is now called Canary Wharf, doubling the distance of my commute. With the complicity of the summer, the Olympics, and the desire to test my fitness level I started using the bike at least a couple of times a week. I continued, encouraged by the number of other Londoners who seem to have decided to do the same thing at the same time. Is this legacy of the Olympics? I should write to Seb Coe and ask him if this is what he had in mind.

Getting on the saddle between 7 and 9 am feels like going to a critical mass event: there are more bikes than cars. Even today, 11 degrees at 7 am, I slipped on my black Beagle Boys-style wooly hat, my red leather gloves and a yellow high visibility jacket and run to work on my beloved bike. A great satisfaction warms me every time I enter the lobby, reinvigorated by shower and makeup. I look at my colleagues and I feel a cut above the rest of them: it is not even 9 am and I already have almost an hour of exercise under my belt. In addition to seeing London icons caressed by the warm light of the morning – what I really like is seeing the transformation of women. My changing room buddies – who I do not know and whom I exchange a greeting at the entry and at the exit of the changing room – should be the protagonists of the next advertising campaign of Procter and Gamble. They enter the door wrapped in lycra and anti wind and rain sports clothes, disheveled and red in the face. They reemerge wrapped in clothes that scream “take me seriously” or “no jokes with me”, high heels, makeup applied quickly and accurately. They are artists. They have already won the first battle of the day: with the traffic, with the laziness.  Who is going to defeat them now that are wearing their Capitalist uniform and high heels.

 photo credit:<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sigfridlundberg/7214008448/”>Sigfrid Lundberg</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Questo autunno ho deciso di portare il mio livello di fitness su un nuovo livello e provare ad andare in bicicletta a lavoro, almeno quando non piove, non fa troppo freddo e non devo essere in ufficio troppo presto o andare a qualche evento la sera. Nonostante ci siano molte variabili, posso garantire che it hurts. E la gente crede che sia un po’ matta quando lo dico. Ho iniziato ad andare in bicicletta in modo graduale: prima con la Boris bike, bicicletta in condivisione solida e pesante, diventata in poche settimane il mio mezzo di trasporto preferito per i 5/ 6 kilometri che separano Chelsea Bridge Road dalla City.

Uno schema semplice e geniale chiamato Cycle to work – le aziende, inclusa la mia, regalano o facilitano l’acquisto di una bicicletta a prezzo super scontato – mi ha convinto a fare un upgrade e passare ad una bicicletta da donna leggera e con il portapacchi. E naturalmente il casco, le luci e una banda ad alta visibilità. La solita azienda ha poi deciso di trasferire il mio team in quella zona che era una palude fino all’era Tatcher e che oggi si chiama Canary Wharf, raddoppiando per me la distanza casa-ufficio.

Complice l’estate, le olimpiadi, e il desiderio di mettere alla prova il mio livello di fitnessho provato a usare la bici come mezzo di trasporto almeno un paio di volte alla

settimana. E ce l’ho fatta. E ho continuato, incoraggiata dal numero di altri londinesi che sembrano aver deciso di fare la stessa cosa. Sara’ il numero di medaglie vinte nel ciclismo dal team GB? Salire in sella tra le 7 e le 9 del mattino da’ la sensazione di fare critical mass. Anche oggi, in una mattina fresca dove il termometro segnava 11 gradi, mi sono infilata la cuffia di lana nera da Banda Bassotti, i guanti di pelle rossa, la giacca giallo evidenziatore ad altissima visibilita’, e mi sono lanciata a lavoro. Enorme soddisfazione ogni volta che entro nell’atrio, fresca di doccia e trucco, guardo i colleghi e mi sento più’ alta di dieci centimetri: non sono nemmeno le 9 e ho già fatto quasi un’ora di esercizio.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/2_dogs/6303021805/”>2 dogs</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

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