Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate

De futuro urbanorum

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 19 December 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1713
  1. R E Williams, general practitioner
  1. London SW13 8HA

    At the time of my first paper in the BMJ on the immense advantage of a bicycle to a general practitioner needing to visit patients in central London I had covered only 6000 miles (9656km), an average during those first exploratory three years of only 8 miles (12.8 km) per working day.1 Now, 23 years and three bicycles later, the mileage is over 62 000 (100 000 km), which is nearly 21/2 times round the earth or a quarter of the way to the moon.

    An urban odyssey

    These innumerable short journeys have added up to a small urban odyssey, which has been not only highly efficient but enjoyable. Once I had experienced the freedom of movement and saving of time provided by my bicycle it became increasingly unthinkable to return to the frustrating torpor of trying to use my car for the job that I was doing. The only excuses for my previous 13 car-bound years in general practice are that the car was the expected mode of transport and …

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