In my previous post, I suggested cycling as a faster, cheaper and healthier alternative to driving as a means of commuting. At the time I was being a bit of a hypocrite, I didn’t actually cycle my daily commute. Rather, I was what many peasantphobia sufferers call a “bus wanker” (nope, I honestly had nothing better to do on the bus :D). The time came when Boris Johnson’s gift of free bus travel came to an end as my card expired and there would be a week before its replacement came. Instead of trudging for 50minutes through the finest areas of North Dagenham, I decided to spend a week cycling as a sort of trial run. I have to say that I don’t want to go back to the bus days, it’s just so much better by bike!
For a start the 50minute walk, or 30minute walk and bus ride has been reduced to just 15minutes to travel the 5km or so. This is even better because of the reliability of the bike ride. With my journey time varying by just seconds each day, I can leave at 8:30 and arrive at 8:45 on the dot. With the bus I would have to leave at 7:30 in order to stand a chance of getting on the bus, with 4000 students using the bus to get to the 4 schools along the way every morning it was a regular occurence to wait for 5-6 buses before you were able to get on. The advantage of being able to leave an hour later is you can sleep in for another hour, and that is never a bad thing!
The cycle ride takes in mostly small tree-lined side roads, a short section through the park and a little bit at the end on a busy main road. As daunting as the last section sounds, it’s actually so busy the traffic is crawling along, which means you can jump onto the centreline and filter all the way to the front of the queue for the lights. On the other side of the lights you’re pretty much there, just making a left turn into the quietest road around.
You will all be able to see a recording of this route in the next week or so, as Monday 10th October is Cycle Video Day, the day where all cycle commuters are encouraged to strap on their helmet cameras and make a 10-minute video showing the best/most exciting part of their daily commute. This was created in part by YouTube’s most watched camera cyclist, Gaz545 . He has his own blog over at CroydonCyclist. Make sure to check out Cycle Video Day if you want to take part. I mention this because Gaz has kindly included my YouTube channel in his list of camera cyclists. Head over to my channel to see some videos I’ve taken riding around in Central London, including some good examples of how not to drive, if you’re learning. The occasions we catch bad drivers are unfortunately the primary reason behind the popularity of camera cycling. As the slowest road user for the most part, cyclists aren’t very popular among motorists. Many a road rage incident has been captured on film, and it really shows who has the last laugh when the police get involved and convictions come flying at the smug, condescending motorist.
Dangerous drivers aside, cycling is as safe as walking statistically, so you’re really only getting a benefit out of it! Check back on my YouTube channel or here in the next week or so to see the video.