Cycling vignettes – 23/11/11


Cycled through the fog to get to work. We seem to have a lot of fog at the moment. Otherwise fairly uneventful.

Another long day at work including a management meeting that didn’t go particularly well (me being grilled by UK Managing Director with whom my relationship has deteriorated over the past 6 months or so. Really looking forward to his tenure ending, but that’s not until April).


Didn’t leave work until gone 6.30pm. Got on the Boris Bike and it felt very slow. Yet again it turns out I’d ended up with a bicycle with low air pressure. This is a repeated problem with Boris Bikes and it’s a pain in the backside. They’re slow enough as it is. They’re even more clunky, slow and laborious to cycle when low on air pressure.

We should, finally, be soon introducing the cycle to work scheme (government tax relief scheme for employees buying a bike meaning you can save 40% off the cost of the bike). It can’t come soon enough. I am sick of renting bikes – even if it is cheap and cheerful, they are just really second rate for commuting.

A life on two wheels

pashley guvnor
A bike to covet: a British-built Pashley Guv'nor (Source: Esquire Magazine)

So I started cycling.

Having lived in this city for over a decade, cycling is not something that has ever taken my fancy. For most of those 10 years I’ve lived in zones 2 and 3 – i.e. a few miles out from the centre. The last 1.5 years I’ve lived in zone 1, which effectively is the centre. It makes the prospect of getting around by bike much more viable.

Of course – the biggest influence on my decision to at least try out two wheels has been the ‘Boris Bike’ scheme. In the unlikely event that you don’t know what that is – it’s Transport for London’s bike-hire scheme. There are 6,000 bikes and 400 docking stations in central London. The cost, especially for journeys under 30 minutes – is minimal. Journeys under 30 minutes are actually free, though you need to pay an access fee (either £1 a day, £5 for 7 days or £45 for a year’s access). I’m currently paying £5 for the 7 day pass which auto-renews. I have a key fob which means I don’t have to faff about at the terminal – I just plug-it in to the individual bike dock and the bike is then released.

Continue reading “A life on two wheels”