Every day, a little effort to avoid the everyday stress

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - One of the faster commuter riders

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Sometimes a short commuter ride is an opportunity to make the extra effort.

“Everybody should do this. A 15 minute ride to and the 15 minute ride back from work. There would be less traffic in the city and less stress at work.”

Photographers notes: I like to think I am a better rider than most city cyclists. Better means faster. Better means I drop you, you do not drop me. I see a wheel in the distance and begin counting the seconds until I have taken it, edged onto the rider and then left them in my wake. I guess I am not the nicest person to ride alongside.

So, when I saw this wheel bouncing along the Grand Place cobblestones, I eased onto the pedals and expected to have him soon. The struggle increased a little, but I had time. I was holding the distance. Then, as the hills got longer and harder, a gap appeared. Nothing too large. Nothing insurmountable. But I was not going to get it back easily. I kept him in my sights, still 40 metres off the back, as we entered the final climb to the top of the city escarpment.

Imagine how grateful I was when he pulled off the road to go window shopping. I came alongside, chest heaving, gasping for air, glad to was off the pedals and, with some spastic physical gestures, indicated I wanted to speak to him.

I laughed at the image of him perched on his bike, breathing easily, wondering who was this Shrek on wheels.

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