This time last year a few events forced me to change. Christmas was coming up and in the space of a week, the telly, the boiler and my little car died. Frick – need to re-assess spending and save up. I got the boiler fixed, cancelled my gym membership and wracked my brains for ideas to save up for another car. Hang on, maybe I didn’t need to replace it! My youngest had finally started school and the childcare had suddenly got a whole lot easier – I could actually just scoot – it takes a little longer, but it’s a whole lot cheaper than the car and gym combo.
So I’ve been scooting – a lot. Here are 5 unexpected outcomes of my year of the scoot-commute.
1. Flat terrain is NOT the ideal terrain for scooting.
I live in Manchester, it’s flat and it has many canals routes which are also flat. Punishingly flat. I want hills. A hill provides two essential things – the uphill HIIT training to really get the blood pumping, and the equally essential thrill of the downhill which allows you to get your breath back.
2. Pavements are awesome.
Pavements are perfect for scooting and much of my route is completely empty of pedestrians – I enjoy the safety they provide and I do not envy cyclists commuting in heavy traffic. BUT I really feel for anyone who uses a wheelchair – how the hell are they supposed to get around? The random appropriation of dropped and undropped curbs are easily tackled for the able-bodied – but for the disabled, my entire route would be completely inaccessible.
3. The city has shrunk.
Free to choose whichever route you fancy on a whim, but faster than walking. Scooting essentially gives you more time to discover and enjoy your neighbourhood. Things feel more accessible, and a longer 5-mile scoot doesn’t feel daunting at all.
4. I resented having to drive.
When I had to drive the van to work (had stuff to take places), I really really resented sitting in traffic.
5. I can actually run now!
I haven’t enjoyed running since I was about 12. I found it punishing on my knees and I never felt fit enough, despite being pretty ‘sporty’. Scooting has had the immediate effect of strengthening my core stability, in particular strengthening the hip area, and since I have had two kids, I noticed this immediate benefit straight away. My stronger quads helped to stabilise my knee joints. I can actually run now! If I wanted to…
6. I eat more. Dieting is sh*t.
My sizeable breakfast fuels my scoot and without it, I’d be running on empty by mid-morning.
As a parent with small children, a common worry amongst friends is how to lose a few pounds here and there, should I try the 5-2 diet? Should I cut out carbs? But honestly, finding a way to MOVE more is where the focus should be. But finding time to exercise when you have small children is near impossible. During the early years, my fitness hit an all-time low – the time between my first pregnancy and my youngest starting school meant 8 years of not looking after myself. Finally last year I was able to make a positive change. My commute to work is the only time I can find to exercise without impacting on the family time.
Why wait for your boiler, car and telly to break down to force a change? – that part wasn’t fun, but the change has resulted in numerous benefits for me and my family, and I won’t be replacing my car any time soon.