Sunday, November 18, 2007

Life In The Bus Lane

So I have been temping a couple of weeks now and the life of an office manager is actually quite interesting, although in this office midweek is rather slow as most of the consultants are away on assignment and so I was often alone stalking the corridors and talking to myself (so at least no change there then). I won't bore you with the details of the job, instead it has been the getting to and from work which will be the topic of my discussion. It seems that getting from A to B plays a far greater role in our daily lives than I had previously supposed, and isn't solely the preserve of travellers.

As I mentioned before I had decided to go green and use the bike, although my reasons for switching were more prosaic and centred around money and an increase in sleep time. There are, of course, other advantages to cycling. Personally I derive great pleasure in speeding past single-occupancy motorists who are stuck in jams and inching along nose to tail at a walking pace - it gives me a great amount of satisfaction and makes me feel not a little smug, especially as I weave in between the gridlock maze. I am lucky in that my route takes me through Richmond Park, London's largest urban park, complete with its own herd of royal deer. You don't really see them in the morning when the park is also open to traffic, but as the road gates are closed at dusk the park becomes a surreal cycling experience. As you enter, the lights that are omnipresent in the city abruptly stop and you enter into a surprisingly heavy darkness. And although you don't have to worry about getting run over by a car, you have to be extra vigilant for the deer that wander across the road and seemingly jump out at you in the darkness. And off in the distance lies London with a red haze from the city lights hanging above it as if it were on fire, obscuring the stars which are replaced by the planes coming in to land at Heathrow. The darkness is so deep that on my first foray homewards through the park I mistakenly took a wrong turning and ended up in Roehampton, thereby adding some 10km to my trip (suffice to say that it is not a mistake I am likely to make in the future!).

There are drawbacks too, of course, as there are to everything, the most notable being the delayed action saddle soreness (which I am feeling as I'm typing these very words) and stressed muscles that are unused to the exertion. The weather is also getting noticeably colder, which I feel particularly keenly as I set off in the morning when my body still isn't warmed up. The cold wind in my face also causes my nose to run so that I am always cycling with a permanent drop of watery phlegm dangling like some liquid bungee jumper, on the tip of my nose. Still, a small price to pay for trying to be carbon neutral.

1 comment:

Inihtar said...

Errrm. . . thanks for that visual there at the end (I think!)

Cycling in the cold weather must be pretty tough. I can barely walk (usually run, since I'm always late) from my apartment to the subway station and Tokyo's not even nearly as cold as London. Maybe you should use the money you save to invest in a nice warm down-jacket -- and a ski mask!! :)