Biking in Guildford… do people do it? Is it easy to get around town by bike? What about biking in London? Is that a thing? I keep hearing about this Deliveroo gig, can I get paid for biking and delivering food? For all of your bike queries, I have the answer! Well, my answer at least.
Cycling on the other side of the road may seem daunting, but after the second time, it becomes your new normal. However, there are a few challenges with biking in Guildford that you might not know unless you’re getting the inside scoop, so here it is. There’s a shared pavement (sidewalk) between cyclists and pedestrians from Manor Park (the area where many postgrads and I live) to the University campus (with the Tesco’s smack in the middle). Everyone has their preferences, but I try not to use the shared pavement because I often get frustrated when pedestrians are in my way (I know that sounds like a bully, but you can’t help it when you’re moving at least 3x faster) but I can tell that pedestrians get frustrated at me for sneaking around them, catching them off guard even if I call out, and when I’m a pedestrian I’m scared of cyclists whizzing past me. Maybe it’s just me, but using a shared pavement causes me a lot of internal conflict, so I tend to stay on the road with the cars. The cars are pretty good about giving you space in Guildford, and I have much less internal conflict riding on the road. However, the paving on the road is not the best for cycling, there are lots of cracks and bumps with no designated bike lane. As I mentioned in my previous post too, the roundabouts are not the most fun to navigate while cycling, especially when the road is slick, but again, it becomes your new normal.
There are a few ways to get into town through campus. I try to utilize the short cuts, but it comes at the price of huffing and puffing when heading back home from the town center as Surrey is quite hilly and the Friary (the main mall in the town center) is at the bottom of it. I find it a nice way to get my body moving while not spending an enormous amount of time waiting for the Arriva bus to finally arrive. For someone who likes to bike, I would say it’s the cheapest, fastest and most reliable way to get around town. There’s also an awesome and cheap bike shop on campus called Bike Bros open on Fridays and by appointment. They sell used bikes, bike maintenance tools, and can help fix your bike. People do bike, but there are many more bikers around London.
I haven’t cycled in London a whole lot, but I have had my fair share of experience the times I have. I joined a critical mass in London last week where a group of 60+ cyclists dressed in Christmas gear and biked around London on a Saturday night with blaring speakers. It was so much fun and felt strangely safe biking as such a big group through the streets of London. It was definitely a unique experience that I would recommend to someone who even mildly enjoys biking, it doesn’t even feel like you’re biking for as long as you are and the group goes slow so it’s accessible for anyone who can bike. The energy was incredible and it was cool to get enthusiasm from people walking by dancing to the music with us.
I tried to bike for Deliveroo, a company where you get paid to deliver food by bike. I was super excited at the idea of getting paid to bike around town, but I was told that because of the type of company it is, you are not allowed to work there unless you have UK/EU citizenship. So even though they advertise everywhere for everyone to work for Deliveroo, don’t waste your time trying to apply if you don’t have citizenship across the pond, because me and some of my friends wasted quite a bit of time trying to work for them.