Last week I commuted to work by underground. My mum came to London and as she didn’t know how to get home from zone 1, she picked me up at work and we did the trip together. This turned out to be quite the venture. In the mornings it was the “how to feel like canned fish” feeling and in the evening more of a “how can we numb a mind even more” feeling. One overground trip, and two underground trips (plus walk to my work) made the journey about an hour long. Depending on tfl! So, by the end of the week, I was done.
On Tuesday, my new work week started and I decided to bite the bullet and go for it. Just take the bike and get to work one way or another. I didn’t fully know the way there, so I had to find out how to get there. Quite frankly, on paper it seems simple. Down the A10 towards the A503 and the Seven Sisters Road down to Holloway and Camden. Unfortunately, what seems simple on paper, is in practice a nightmare.
Nightmare, you say? Yea! The A10 is filled with buses and cars. Lovely perfume of fumes. Especially in the morning before coffee. Yesterday I got stuck behind said vehicles for ages, before I got angry and decided the pavement was a good alternative for the queues. And you know, the pavement…OMG HEAVEN! The pavements are HUGE. At least 10 meters wide, nicely even surfaced. Enough space to put #space4cycling in place. (Haringey Council replied to me tweeting this by the way saying the A10 is TFL’s jurisdiction and they can’t put cycle lanes in because TFL refuses). I darted by the traffic in no time. I darted that quickly I even forgot I was looking for the A503 and ended up in Hackney. Properly lost, I made my way down to Old Street and eventually found a sign for King’s Cross. About an hour and a half from leaving home, I got to work. My first proper commute had some room for improvement.
That evening, my employer said he’d cycle with me for a bit until I knew where I was going to. 45 min later, I was standing at my front door. SCORE! This morning (leaving an hour earlier than normal), I took the same roads and again made it in under an hour. Same for this evening. Basically, my cycle commute takes slightly less than my public transport commute. And in two days cycling, I have saved £15.00.
Cycling into work obviously has its downsides. Traffic is mad, on all accounts. Queues, queues, QUEUES. Buses pulling in and out of the buslanes (inadvertedly also the cycle lanes because London isn’t arsed about actually making proper cycle paths.). And then you have those people who think the sun revolveS around their backsides.
So, today, I raise my glass to these people. You think you are so important, you need to feel you have to cut off any cyclist on your path to gain the grand total amount of three seconds. You think hogging the curb is an excellent idea, so a cyclist can’t get to its designated area in front of you at traffic lights. You think passing a cyclist and then left hooking this cyclist to get into the sideroad is courteous. Or even better: SMIDSY. “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”. How on earth can’t you see a cyclist if you have your eyes ON the road? Perhaps on your smartphone?
Wanker Wednesday, I do hope it doesn’t become a regular occurence. In any case, I am saving money and help the environment. It would be nice to do this safely, around traffic which gives us space to do so. As long as this isn’t the case, you’ll find me on a pavement near you!