Andrew Gilligan, journalist and London’s cycling commissioner on his love for cycling in the capital and who would win if he and the mayor race each other…

I cycled to school but then I gave up for about 20 years and started again in the summer of 2006. I realised I was grossly fat and needed to do something about it.

I can’t drive and have never had a driving licence. I cycle all the time, probably about 100 to 120 miles a week. I occasionally take public transport. I’ve only been on the Tube once perhaps in the last several years, and I can’t remember the last time I went on a bus in London.

London is so much nicer from a bike and is my favourite place to ride. If you travel by train, you take the same route and see the same things every day. If you travel by bike, you see a side of London that’s completely different than you would driving on a main road or on the underground.

Transport isn’t just how you get around; it shapes a city, and cycling shapes a city in ways that are almost always good. It’s about making the place nicer for everyone. There are not many other forms of transport you can say do that.

We need a serious network of cycle routes in London, and hopefully that’s what we are going to have. We’re having two important segregated routes through the city centre, a network of ‘quiet ways’ on back streets, improved super-highways and we’re recasting many of the worst junctions, so people feel safer riding through them.

I balance my two jobs with some difficulty and don’t have much free time. The cycling commissioner job is three days a week and I’m employed by The Telegraph the rest of the time. I can usually manage by segregating days, but there can be weeks where there’s a lot happening in both jobs.

I knew I wanted to be a journalist from a fairly early age. It’s a pretty good job. It’s quite fun, it’s varied, it gets you into lots of places and to know lots of people.

I won the top award in the profession about a series of stories about Ken Livingstone and am pretty proud of those. They were recognised as being the best journalism of the year [2008] by my peers.

I’m a boxed set kind of guy. I don’t watch broadcast TV very much. I’m watching Borgen at the moment. My favourite hobby is slumping on the sofa and not doing very much. I wish I could do more of that. I like sleeping, does that count as a hobby?

If Boris and I were to have a cycle race, I don’t know who would win. He wants me to come on the RideLondon 100 ride, so we’ll have to see. In these matters, it’s always best to let the boss win, I think.

This article was first published in the June 20 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!