THE bike’s not even been bought, the helmet not tried on, the trousers not yet clipped – but I am already on the road to a Damascene conversion into cycling evangelist.
I’ve taken a financial and environmental decision to rid myself of a car (if only temporarily) and take to the roads by bike instead.
The problem, after I finally decide which bike to go for, is feeling any sort of confidence on the roads.
I got my cycling proficiency badge 26 years ago, so I think that’s still valid, but there was no real preparation in those classes for dealing with inconsiderate bus drivers, angry motorists and highways not fit for office workers commuting on two wheels.
The fact is our towns and cities are way behind those in Europe in being geared towards those walking, running and pedalling. But we could all do with changing our mindset.
Take a recent example in Cardiff: when news of improvements for cyclists and pedestrians on a city centre bridge emerged, my first thought was of the disruption it will cause to already snarled city centre traffic.
Now, I can’t help thinking what a brilliant advancement this will be for me and my fellow biking men and women.
What’s really needed is for councils, and the Welsh and UK Governments to be brave and start creating public routes that favour the bike and bus – and not the car.
They can take the blows from Jeremy Clarkson-types who think the car is the king of the road and look at the long term – of building infrastructure that is car-free in urban areas, freeing town and city dwellers of noxious air and creating safe and open roads.
Prime Minister David Cameron has promised funds for England that would be used to help bring about a “revolution” in cycling to bring the country closer to the likes of Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Here in Wales the legislation is being put in place, but it looks as though the money isn’t.
Our toothless democratic settlement strikes once again.
Sustrans Cymru said Mr Cameron’s announcements showed he understood funding was “crucial” in making walking and cycling normal for shorter journeys.
The sustainable travel charity wants similar money to be promised for local authorities in Wales, warning that the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Bill faces limited improvement it is backed with funding.
Provision for cyclists is probably as good as it’s ever been, with new paths and routes opening up. But that doesn’t mean it’s anywhere near as good as it should be – particularly in urban centres.
And while the Welsh Government is right to bring in new legislation to help engineer further change, Mr Cameron is showing that has to be backed up by real investment.