Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Have fun commuting

Surely the most enriching and enjoyable aspect of any job is simply getting there and back – sharing a wink and a nod with all those other friendly passengers and…

Oh all right, I’m kidding. One of the few hardships in my life is the daily slog to work. Another is the daily slog back home again.

Fundamentally, I alternate between three options:
- full-on public transport
- lift from a kind neighbour followed by a brisk 25-minute walk in the morning, with public transport to get home
- leg power (for, as you know, I am a cycle-commuter)

The three are presented in ascending order of agreeableness, but, oddly enough, the total journey time is fairly similar in all three cases. Public transport times have become noticeably less predictable of late.

My liking for public transport (never great at the best of times) has nose-dived sharply in recent years, to the extent that I frequently find myself clambering past irate fellow passengers in order to get off a train at the earliest possible opportunity just to escape the cramped conditions and furnace-like temperature. This of course does nothing to speed up the journey.

In contrast, my road bike - together with its numerous accessories and enhancements – is one of the joys of my life. The freedom and independence it offers, not to mention the exercise opportunity it provides, are very great assets indeed.
Although I start to flag now after 2 consecutive days on the road, I do aim to use the bike on at least half my commuting journeys. More if possible.

The only seriously dissuasive factor is heavy rain which is bad news for the cyclist, however well equipped he is. (I’ll cycle through a light shower pretending that it isn’t happening). Cold, dry conditions, on the other hand, pose no problem whatsoever. Indeed, on such days the only times I don’t feel cold are when I’m on the bike, concealed Russian-doll like in multiple layers of stretchy breathable fabric.

Then there is the challenge of avoiding the other knights of the road who are, in ascending order of threat to life:
- professional drivers
- taxis
- buses
- other less diligent cyclists
- private motorists
- pedestrians
- 2-wheeled thingies with engines

Every completed journey is a minor triumph. Although cycling is a lot less dangerous than the media would have you think. Take a look at this.

And on that rather serious note endeth this post