First of all some facts: The journey (according to Google maps) is 5.7 miles long and should take 33 mins. I decided that rather try and find my way down back roads I'd stick to the A6. It's not a big dual carriageway type road like the A40 in West London but it is still quite a busy road. I left at 6.50am (about the time I'd leave if I were driving to the station to get the early train) and pulled up at the underground car park where I will store my bike at 7.13am.
Now some things I 'enjoyed' on the way.
- Getting your body into gear before 7.00am is hard, especially at my age. An early morning session of bedroom gymnastics? Yes please. An early morning session of physical exercise? Ouch.
- Maintaining speed is important. Slowing down or stopping means you have to work hard to get going again. This is a problem when approaching sharp bends, traffic lights or pedestrians.
- Pot holes, whilst in your car, are a minor inconvenience and may make you spill a little of your low-fat crapaccino latte. Pot holes whilst on a bike make you flop around like an epileptic with a cattle prod up your arse and can throw you into the path of buses.
- Speaking of buses. They are bastards.
- Roundabouts, especially multiple-entry dual lane ones, are scary places on a bike. The best tactic I found was to check all entrances as you approach, (maintaining your speed as per above), scream loudly, point at your exit, and shut your eyes and hope for the best.
- Levenshulme stinks. (Rubbish, piss and industrial chemicals I think) which you don't get an appreciation of when sat in a car.
- I didn't know one head could hold so much sweat.
- Getting washed in a gents toilet makes you feel slightly grubby and weird.
Despite all of the above, I really did enjoy it. As the days go by, I will get fitter (hopefully) and so the pain and discomfort should lessen. I should also get into routine of what clothes to wear, whether or not an iPod is a good thing to use etc. The only downside is now I'm here I have to work! We'll see how the journey home is this afternoon. It'll be busier, probably warmer, but at least I have a shower to
I'll update tonight when / if I get home...
Update: some more things I learned on my 25 minute ride home:
Buses really ARE bastards.
Taking the last exit on a busy, two lane roundabout is fucking terrifying.
There are more up hills coming home than going to work.
Catching my reflection in a shop window I discovered I look faintly ridiculous on a bike - hopefully this will improve as I lose weight.
As long as the weather is good again tomorrow I'll be doing the whole thing again.
Have a nice evening all.