28 Oct 2010

Bonkers to be missing a money saving, time saving trick

I have had to have my bicycle off the road and decided to eschew the Boris bike and try depending in London upon public transport for a day – and included mini cabs and cabs in that. I should explain that any tube station is a minimum of 10 minutes walk from my office. I am fortunate in that my home is two minutes from a Northern Line station.

I normally leave home at 9.15 am. The journey by bike gets me to our morning editorial meeting at 9.30 am. The Northern Line, when it works – which is usually – provides many trains and the journey time to the nearest station to Channel 4 News, Kings Cross is around 12 minutes and runs every three or four minutes at that time.

Yesterday I left home at 9.00 am. I was on a train moving out of my station within an impressive five minutes. We arrived within seven minutes at Euston. I was beginning to worry that public transport was seriously challenging the joys of cycling.  

No such luck. Someone had been taken ill at London Bridge station and a grim echoing voice advised that all trains on the Northern Line were being held at station platforms.

I leapt from the train before the door closed and ran up the escalator. Euston, after all, is a mere five minutes from my studio on a bike – I reasoned that it couldn’t be more than twice that on foot. I was wrong. I trotted and walked but still took nearly 20. I arrived at work at 9.43. Forty three minutes for a 15 minute cycle journey.

During the day I had to go to Chelsea for a meeting with a contact. Later I had to go to Westminster to interview the Foreign Secretary William Hague.

The former journey took a total journey time of one whole hour (an hour I did not have) – by bike I have done it in half an hour. The latter journey took 45 minutes. Total costs by mini cab and taxi, £43 plus £7.20 for a one day rail card for the tube (in case I had had to use it during the day). Over £50 on a day when I normally spend nothing on transport. And two hours of my working life sapped by travelling.

Last night I had to hand out an award at the London Film Festival Awards. The car they sent each proved quicker than I could have done (in a dinner jacket) on a bike and was free!

But let me ask, why on earth do more people not use a bike. I have learned the hard way, that there is absolutely no rational alternative.

Wherever you live, you are bonkers, in an urban setting, not to depend upon a bike whatever the weather! Particularly when money is tight.

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65 reader comments

  1. Paul Begley says:

    Hi Jon,

    I think you may not quite have “got” the real public transport experience for ordinary commuters in London.

    Imagine that in order to reach Euston you had a twenty minute bus journey (one per hour at that time of day?) to your local rail station, followed by 45-90 minutes (standing) on a mainline rail service, for which you pay several thousand pounds each year for your season ticket.

    What time would you have left home to reach the 9:30 meeting? More importantly, looking at property prices where you now live, how much would you have to earn to live there, and what fraction of C4’s employees earn that much?

    That will give a bit of context to the current squabble over housing benefit. And I’m afriad that if your earnings in Central London imply living in say Luton or Ramsgate, the bike really isn’t a practical option.

    1. Edward Roberts says:

      errmmm. folding bike? commute in by train, then ride. done.

  2. Meg Howarth says:

    Spot on, Jon, re the commonsense of urban bike-use but age and fear are but two probable causes of low rates in the city. My north London borough organises cycle-training for both adults and children, an excellent facility which has probably boosted numbers of cyclists. (In my case what got me cycling was seeing my daughter peddle away happily. Until then I’d never cycled – no bikes in my northern upbringing – so I was in my 40s before I learnt the delights of two wheels.)

    Re Boris’ bikes: idea seems to have taken off. Empty bike-stands (with up to 40 locks) are regularly to be seen across the capital.

    The benefits of cycling – exercise, freedom, open-air – cannot be over-emphasised, and are surely particularly valuable in these economically and socially stressed times. Let’s hope the public cycling-classes don’t get the chop (by ministers regularly to be seen being driven the few hundred yards to parliament).

    1. adrian clarke says:

      No bikes in the North,Meg?There were no cars and only one bus a week(except for the school bus)in rural Staffs where i was bought up.I still have the scar on my chin where i hit the top of a bridge when the bike stopped suddenly after impact with the same bridge,at speed.I still remember the breath gasping pain of a handlebar in the stomach after hitting a gatepost ,at speed.I have just realised where i got my “boy racer” credentials.I used to bike daily the 3-4 miles of country lanes where i not only delivered papers,once a week ,but ended up at my grans.Oh what an idyllic childhood i had.
      Now i live in rural Derbyshire ,i would like to see you on your bike round here JON,where a walk to two of the three pubs is up a 1 in 10 incline.I suppose it wouldn;t matter on the way back as it is downhill.I can see you now bent over the handlebars tails flying out behind you,but beware the pot holes.

    2. Meg Howarth says:

      Thanks, Lacplesis; appreciated. Unsurprising news, alas, and I now feel depressed. Yevtushenko would only have been in his thirties. Will do some further research.

      Adrian: there must have been plenty of bikes in the north. It’s just that in my silent unhappy family there weren’t any. I used to yearn for a racing bike with a water-bottle.

    3. adrian clarke says:

      Meg, a water bottle ?You must be a real babe.They didn’t even have gears in my day and no rubber wheels.

    4. anniexf says:

      I wasn’t allowed a bike – “because girls couldn’t”, according to my father. So I learned to ride secretly on a boy’s bike. A friend from school let me practise on his & my father never found out. Mum kept mum! Dear father also said girls didn’t play with Meccano. I loved it!

  3. Tim says:

    I’m with you, although my preference is the petrol-burning kind of two wheeled transport as I often have to make long jaunts to remote sites outside of the city.

    Dreading the inevitable coming of the snow and ice forcing me to put it in the garage for the winter, nothing is worse even in a small city like Aberdeen than sitting in traffic for an hour just to get to work.

    Cost… at well over £5 for an all day bus ticket, which takes as long as a car to get into town with an infrequent and poorly planned service thrown into the price… compared to my 12cc bike running at 120mpg, £15/year for road tax and cheap insurance.

    Little wonder my partner and I both don our helmets and leathers every morning.

  4. Meg Howarth says:

    Re your meeting with Hague: young William’s clearly joined the ranks of those who choose to blame the (Wikileaks) messenger rather than admit culpability for the UK’s disastrous foreign policy, started under New Lab but continued under LibCons.

    It could be argued that most politicians have always lacked a moral compass but what message are we sending our children when our government engages in dissimulation and avoidance. A famous mid-C20 Russian poet – name now escapes me, of course! – penned the following simple opening lines: ‘Telling lies to the young is wrong/The young know what you mean’. I’ll second that any day. Seeking the truth must be at the heart of education or we’re doomed.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Meg where i have no problem with the truth coming out,there is a time for it.The lunatic in charge of Wikileaks ,has no feelings for the safety of young men and women , thrown into a conflict by two disingenuous leaders, who aught to now be locked up in the Hague.
      I have no problem with the truth coming out and guilty parties being punished ,but were he British or for that matter American , to my mind he is committing a treasonable act,and “young Hague” does well to seek to protect our youngsters whilst they are still in the theatre of war

    2. Meg Howarth says:

      Yevgeny Yevtushenko [Evgeny Evtushenko] was the 1933-born poet. Does anyone know whether he’s still alive?

    3. Lacplesis says:

      Yevtushenko committed suicide in the 1960s, I think. He was allowed to flourish during the Khrushchev years, but was suppressed (& deeply depressed) after Brezhnev took over.

    4. Jim Flavin says:

      some fairly tame blogs this week – in the week of the Wikileaks story!! . Why . Could it be that the Wikileaks will reveal that more tahn US and Iraq ”misbehved ”.. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2010/10/20101026161554714852.html . The people that are putting US/UK lives at risk – including those who are not in Iraq or Afghaistan are as has been said the leaders – who should be on trial , Obama , Bush , Blair , Rumsfeld , Powell ,. The list is long . Its a pity C4 news is not 24/7 . I saw on another cahnnel last nite a very good discsusion re the New Arm race – and the gigantic amoutns spent on Armaments – which are quite useless – but ok for employment and votes . VG didcussion – and they- US people agreed that if Sadam Husein had had WMD – he would be alive today . http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/empire/

      . Re the housing benifiets the man on C4 news last nite who was trying to defend the cuts and saying people will have to move etc – yes – surely that is ethnic cleanisng – as well as ignoring all the human factors such as relatives , friends – etc – all is ok – get on your bike – and get out of sight of the Rich .

    5. Tom Wright says:

      Jim, wish I could share your optimism about wikileaks US sources. They are not a charity: one of their founders left over financial targets. The suggestion has been made that they take money to do leaks, and that the leakers are often govt organisations.

      The CIA is rumoured to be a large customer. Wheels within wheels on this one.

    6. Meg Howarth says:

      See response to yours, above, Lacplesis – and thanks once again. Am reflecting on Yevutshenko’s choice of death over continued life in an environment in which blogging was unheard of and where critical commentary of even the kind on Snowblog would have led to arrest and imprisonment.

  5. cityboy says:

    oh please as much as i’d love to take my bike, the sheer thought of having a wet suit, wet hair and being sweaty is just unacceptable for most professionals working in central london. How do you manage those jon?

    1. margaret brandreth- jones says:

      I wonder if Jons stolen Condor has come back as a Boris bike with a pork pie hat on?

      Re armaments, does anyone know the song ..I want to got to ‘Andora’

      Don’t give anything away about your award presentation Jon.

  6. Mudplugger says:

    Valid though your points may be, it merely serves to underline the entirely different nature of travel when comparing London with the provinces.
    You have ‘doorstep’ tube services, frequent buses and an infestation of (admittedly expensive) taxis. Out in ‘the sticks’ we have none of that, only rare and unreliable buses, hardly any trains, none of them close to where we are or where we want to be, and we also have hills which can defeat even the most determined of pedal-pushers.
    Yet all governments persist in employing transport strategies which are only ever London-centric, ignorant of the fact that 80% of the population do not live within the M25 (nor ever want to).
    The greatest contribution to improved transport facilities everywhere would be if all government offices were moved out to the provinces, then at least they would get to understand what it’s like in the real world.
    And they might then stop wasting £20bn on Crossrail and more like £50bn on yet more unnecessary high-speed train-sets, all for the sole benefit of the metropolitan-centred elite.

  7. Darran says:

    Couldn’t agree more Jon, though I confess to never having used a bike in London.

  8. Philip says:

    1. Not my typical experience. The tubes are generally fine – incidentis like yours yesterday are rare.
    2. I also rarely use cabs/minicabs. Generally the slowest form of transport.
    3. Cycling is often hazardous to your health because of (a) dangerous motor users – notably buses & cabs – who appear not to notice you or think you take up zero space (b) exhaust fumes (c) pedestrians who believe you can stop instantly & can be bullied
    4. walking is safer. Indeed, I often walk for up to 45 minutes rather than use any other form of public transport, not least because it allows me time to think & you are able to see more of this wonderful city of ours, which you – like the rest of the media – prefer to be negative about.

    1. Jim Flavin says:

      I would imagine walking for 45 mins is better than cycling for ten – use more muscles ??. Anyway main thing is — Exercise . This is a very good source of Info – u will see that they put exercise as the basis of the pyramid http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/pyramid/

  9. margaret brandreth-jones says:

    Reasons;- back pain, knee problems lack of strength lack of changing and showering facilites.

    You having cycled since being a young lad and will find it easy. You will have strong thighs, you will have speed. If I was doing that same journey it would take me 3 times as long and I would ladder my tights.

    I have been sporty all my life winning many competitive events but the pain associated with the grinding at the back of the patella followed by a joint filled effusion is not pleasant. Similarly the position in cycling isn’t of benefit to those with back problems and causes much sacral irritation and sciatic nerve problems.

    1. margaret brandreth- jones says:

      Some person gave me a book of Yevtushenkos poems. They fantasised that they were in love with me . ‘Colours’ has always given me the creeps since then: must read more objectively one day Meg.

  10. Colin McKenzie says:

    Not a whole surprise to see lots of excuses for not cycling. In approximate order:
    – if you’re a train ride away from your destination, use bike to and/or from the station.
    – statistically you’ll get wet about 12 times in a year of cycle commuting. You won’t get sweaty unless you ride a long way fast, or in the wrong clothes. If you do need a shower, just have it on arrival instead of before departure.
    – Cycling is NOT more dangerous than walking. Per mile in Britain the risk is about the same. It can be more frightening, but that’s different. Swop that 45-minute walk for a 10-minute cycle.
    – Pain while cycling can often be improved by correcting the riding position. And not cycling further than your body can take.
    On average, cycling prolongs life and shortens journeys. It is really sad that so many people are put off by all the anti-cycling propaganda.

    1. Ali says:

      “If you do need a shower, just have it on arrival instead of before departure” – and how many offices / shops / restaurants provide shower facilities for their staff then?

  11. Anthony Martin says:

    Bikes are awesome Jon. I bought 2 fold up ones recently. They are just great to put in the car and ride along a canal etc. Small wheel bikes are not as good as larger though. Useless on hills.
    I use the my standard bike for hilly terrain.
    I must say though that, it does require a deliberate effort to actually get out there and, the traffic is a bit off putting. The wind and rain in Yorkshire make for a very unpleasant experience but, the accessories available now are fab.
    I bought a set of LED lights for £8 and they are very good these days. I need to buy a monitor to tell me the miles and calories I’ve burned.
    I had an electric bike about 12 years ago but, when the battery ran out it was impossible to push up the hills to get home. I hear they are better now though.

  12. phil dicks says:

    Boris and the Kosovo comment:

    Does this make him unfit for cleaning toilets, let alone public office, when armed men haven’t acually murdered and raped civilians out of their homes? Yes.

    Was he essentially right? Yes.

    This is The Mystery Of Boris. Too clever to be shrewd, too likeable to be trusted. It’s a terrible shame that this guy’s doomed (and you sense it) to spend the rest of his natch on Radio5 Live.

  13. N Porteous says:

    Given our ambitions to reduce our carbon footprint as a nation, its a bit surprising how little successive governments have done to promote cycling.

    The cynic in me would say why would they, a motorist who converts to train & bike, allbeit lowering his carbon footprint is also lowering the amount going into government coffers. You can’t tax walking or cycling, so I think beneath it all governments are quite happy to talk the talk but continually underinvest in public transport and forget making a safe cycling network because they want our road tax, fuel duty and inflated train fares.

  14. Millard says:


    Re: Housing Benefit cuts, why do the images supporting the report show towerblocks… for £400 a week (£20,800pa) you’d get a 3-4 bed house.

  15. Lawrence says:

    Jon is right. No question about it.

    I live and work in Manchester, traveling up and down the busiest bus route in Europe every day. You’d think I would make the most of Manchester’s excellent public transport, yet it is still far quicker to take my 1970’s police bike. And what’s more fun than racing buses? I love it.

  16. Anne Yavary says:

    Cycling in our busy South Coast town isn’t particularly healthy – car fumes. It’s also quite dangerous; I have been squeezed against the pavement more than once by both single and double decker buses. On more than one occasion I have had to take quick evasive action with car doors opening and about to knock me off.

    We have no cycle lanes to speak of and few car users or pedestrians notice them anyway. However, I still take my life in my hands, or should I say, handlebars, and cycle. Not everyday or everywhere, but I just love cycling.

    I too suffer from chronic back pain, but I bought a very comfortable saddle, ride a bike made for comfort not speed and enjoy when I can. It hurts my back a little, but not as much as walking for any length of time or standing too long waiting for buses.

    If only I lived in Brighton – they are so geared up for cyclists. Wo betide you if you step into the cycle lane – you do so at your peril!!

    Happy cycling everyone.

    1. Meg Howarth says:

      Please do, Margaret. No scholar re same – and don’t know ‘Colours’ – but as of today, when not on my bike in the capital city, have decided to take poetry with me on the underground. A bit like (good) blogging: succint and thought-provoking. Tonight, read Yevtushenko.

      And re Anne’s, below: for all of us busy blogging, it seems that sitting upright is the worst thing we can do for our backs – flattens the discs inside our vertebrae, leading to the familiar shrinkage of old-age. Better by far to be leaning forward on a bike, with all cycling’s other benefits, including, apparently, as Colin mentions above, longer life-spans.

  17. phil dicks says:

    I hate to be boring, but how do you see the word ‘liberalism’? This may be important – do you see it as a cause, or the description of an effect?

    1867 – Second Reform Act,UK
    1863 – Act of Emancipation,US

    Weren’t these essentially pragramatic policies passed by at-least-cynical-politicians-and-powers?
    Nothing wrong with that – it’s the nature of Power.

    But where does that leave Liberalism? Is Liberalism a pro-active force for good, or the net-effect of what-the-System-allows-to-lapse-out-of-expediency?

    Forgive this dull obsession of mine, but we all think of ourselves as Liberal – is Liberalism what we do, or the stuff we decide not-to-do?
    Or,fatally, the stuff that Others told-us-not-to-believe-anymore.
    I hope as Liberals we are more than sheep.

  18. margaret brandreth- jones says:

    No meg , I was one of those young ladies who attended ballet until the age of 16 when boys thought it was too POSH, so out of fear of not fitting in stopped, however deportment has taught me to keep my spine straight at all times and I rarely suffer with problems unless I go on one of my bikes.
    I am also unlikely to develop a kyphosis with correct posture. The discs indeed do shrink with age as elastin production slows down and cell renewel takes twice as long( if indeed that particular cell has those capabilities) and it is precisely then that posture and the axis of the body is more important than ever before.

  19. Chimo says:

    Hmmm, be nice for a change to say “I’ll give that a go”. Cycling isn’t always a “golden” experience, especially in built up cities, but it’s still by far the best solution to getting around. It’s not going to be right for everyone but cycling has way more positives than negatives and instead of instantly thinking it’s not right for me, why not give it a whirl.

  20. Ray Turner says:

    You’re right of course Jon, except that cycling is probably the most risky way of getting around the capital…

  21. Simon says:

    I have the privilege of cycling to work along the Brighton seafront and whether its bright sunshine or pouring with rain I wouldn’t swap my commute to work with anyone. I love it; its fast and doesn’t cost a penny.
    Looking forward to the MF Tribune event in London on the 8th but guess I’ll have to get the lousy train for that.

  22. stan says:

    jon,when you ride your bike,do you ever think of the hundreds of thousands of british troops who gave there lives in world war 2 tokeep our great country free you alone dishonour them by not wearing a poppy.YOU LOOK WHAT YOU ARE ON YOUR BIKE.

    1. anniexf says:

      What’s that supposed to mean? I haven’t bought my poppy yet (I haven’t seen any British Legion folk selling them in Sainsbury’s, my usual point of sale) but that doesn’t imply ingratitude, disrespect or anything else. And pretty soon, judging by how quickly the political classes put their poppies on show, it’ll be mandatory to wear one from September!
      I respectfully suggest you withdraw that final remark.

    2. jon snow says:

      Stan they died that we might be free to wear a Poppy whenever we wish. i wish to wear mine on Remembrance Sunday. When you wish to wear yours is your business. Compelling people to wear poppies because YOU think they OUGHT to is precisely the Poppy fascism, or intolerance, that I have complained of in the past. On yer bike Stan, with or without a poppy, it’s all your own free choice..Hitler lost the war!

    3. phil dicks says:

      JS: nice one. I don’t want to add to Stan’s woes, as he has the same right to opinions as everyone else, but this trend of newscasters/everyone wearing a poppy doesn’t seem respectful; just a duty, even a chore. If celebs were wearing them out of spontaneity/thoughtfulness, some of us would be less sceptical of this look-at-me righteousness.
      Is it coincidence that this ‘public grief’ has only been with us post-Diana?

    4. adrian clarke says:

      Stan i like to have a go at Jon for his political bias , but you are out of order criticising anyone for not wearing a poppy.That is a choice in this country we are all allowed to make.
      Hundreds of thousands did make a sacrifice to keep us free from tyranny , but that is also freedom from people trying to force their views on others,but freedom to express their views however unpalatable,and yours are just that , but snow blog has let them be published.

    5. phil dicks says:

      I was wrong to criticise celebs. It’s actually organisations (like the well-meaning Beeb) who put people under pressure. Jon said “poppy fascism” – strong language, but fascism is a series of subliminal threats. If, say Charlotte Church refused (on principled grounds) to wear a poppy, it could become a career-jeopardising story.
      The Beeb needs a re-think; maybe an on-screeen picture of a poppy, in a corner, for November, and, as Jon said, newscasters only actually wearing them on Remembrance Sunday.

    6. margaret brandreth-jones says:

      I think Stan you have misread Jons intentions. Believe me there are thousands of folks out there who you should be having a go at, who overtly mock any of the efforts past generations have made to keep this Country freeish.

      They bring down our Country with satire regards British tradition a ‘stiff upper lip’ good manners, and our general traditions etc.

      They then revel in the traditions of other Countries forsaking our identity.

  23. Y.S. says:

    Time to ban cars altogether in central London. Just have buses, taxis, cycles, mopeds and motorbikes.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      YS that is ethnic cleansing.Are you going to have a large garage site on the outskirts??

    2. Y.S. says:

      The alternative is gridlock Adrian. As for parking its expensive. The car is not the answer to transport in central London, 100 years of progress has led us back to where we began.

    3. Meg Howarth says:

      I’m with both YS’s postings on – but we need to include trams as well, greener and cleaner than the diesel-powered bus. Re Adrian’s ‘large garage on the outskirts’: this is already the case in a number of cities where park ‘n ride schemes have been around for some time – based, I’d guess, on the example of Florence which was, I believe, the first city in Europe to (successfully) take cars off its filthy polluted streets.

    4. Downfader says:

      “YS that is ethnic cleansing”

      LOL! What a crass comment to make.

      In a more serious note there are places around the world where they have and are actively still looking at limiting car passage through towns and cities. Small villages often suffer when large good vehicles take shortcuts, even NYC is having issues with congestion which will probably mean something restrictive is used as a measure.

  24. David Russell says:

    Mr. Snow ,
    Remember me? I wrote to you not so long ago regarding my Vox Populi Realtime Concept (hereafter referred to as VPRC). Your product, C4News, continues to impress and advance the frontiers of journalistic, penetrative insight.
    I can now present to you a VPRC innovation . It’s called Episodic News.Unfortunately,limitations on space allocation here prevent me providing you with the complete content apertaining to EN.But I can provide it, if required in episodes. On cycling,the policy of transport integration for any european city must take account of various transport modes.The fact is that industry depends on motorised vehicles to maintain jobs.They can be made environmentally friendly.To depend solely on bicycles would decimate engineering industries throughout the world and lead to millions more unemployed.The roads need to be made safer for cyclists but they too,(not referring to you)need to practice what I would characterise as “safe cycling”.What that means is always cycle 1 metre or less from the kerb and do not weave in and out of traffic while waiting for the green light.Stay in the queue and,as the Highway Code requires,behave as if you are driving a car.

    1. lucullus says:

      Cycle 1 metre or less from the kerb? You think that’s safe?

    2. Sue D says:

      What you, David, describe as “safe cycling” puts cyclists at risk of beign carved up. Cycling instructors who teach safe urban cycling techniques advise staying one metre from the kerb (or more), to take the lane and discourage drivers from trying to squeeze past (which often results in cyclists being forced into the kerb or parked vehicles. You do not behave like a car driver when on a bike as you can’t possibly expose yourself to the level of risk that would involve.

  25. Meg Howarth says:

    Well-said, Annie, and thanks. I’d too had noticed the political classes with their poppies on display. Thought for a moment that as far as the BBC was concerned, its board of governors was mandating this easy cosmetic show, afraid perhaps that it might be in for more stick from the LibCons. It was frankly refreshing to see the Lib Dem peer responsible for reviewing terror legislation poppy-free when interview by Krishnan last night. Stan’s kneejerk comment is both ignorant and abusive, the basis of populist prejudiced thinking

    Margaret: won’t attempt to discuss as don’t know enough but it was Alexander (of the well-regarded Alexander technique) who deduced that prolonged sitting wasn’t good for our spines. That makes intuitive sense to me. My general rule is ‘shoulders back, neck upright’. Good enough?

  26. Meg Howarth says:

    There’s a difference I’m sure you’d agree, Phil, between informed opinion and personal prejudice/preference/hot air. If education is to mean anything, it must surely be critical thinking. We are indeed all entitled to an opinion but that doesn’t take us anywhere let alone improve social harmony.

    NB Moderators: wondering why/hos my previous response, below, was pasted as a ‘reply’ to Annie/Stan but has appeared as a stand-alone comment?

    1. phil dicks says:

      Meg: you’re right; it’s just that I didn’t want Stan to think we were ganging-up on him, that’s all.

  27. Sue D says:

    The solution to the hills, and the daunting nature of cycling distances to work, is taking it up for pleasure – join the CTC – go on glorious rides in hilly countryside at the weekend. the daily commute will be nothing! You’ll be fitter than you believed possible while making new friends and discovering all manner of new routes through your local town and country. It can be an unalloyed joy!

  28. Rachel says:

    Hell Jon,

    Bikes are fantastic! A joy, until you need to park one. I don’t know anything about London, cos I don’t live there but here in Dorchester, I’ve yet to find a good place to leave my bike when I go shopping. I’m toying with the idea of getting one of those little trailers that goes on the back of a bike, so that I can put my bike in the underground car-park – cos that’s free if you shop in the supermarket above. There are no bike spaces or racks in there at the moment. I’m worried though, if having parked my bike and then gone shopping, all the spaces in the car park may become occupied, then, how would a car-driver feel if there’s my little Muddy Fox and trailer occupying an entire space? I have a feeling they’d be less than amused.

    1. wee folding bike says:

      Some Glasgow multistories have bike racks as do the bus and train stations.

  29. Rachel says:

    PS: That was meant to be Hello Jon, not Hell Jon. Sorry. :) I’m such a prawn.

  30. Lou says:

    If we don’t want poppies to become winter fashion like scarves or mittens maybe we should be free to wear (or not to wear)a poppy whenever we choose. Do you think all charites may make it mandatory to make public displays of our allegiances any time soon? If that were the case I may reduce my charitable donations, they are private decisions I have made and I don’t want to wear badges of allegiance. I will, as usual, make donations and not pick up a poppy.

  31. King001red says:

    Add the word ‘motor’ to the word ‘bike’ and you have it right. Right?

  32. Richard says:

    When I last visited London I found that all the stairs and passages in the tube stations added to the wait. Walking from my hotel across the three parks to the business centre was a faster option than taking the tube and more pleasant.

    I cycle to work. It’s great! More relaxing than the car and often quicker. I used to find that when I was fit enough from doing it regularly Harrogate to Leeds by bike was faster than the train and bike combination and more reliable. It was about 14 miles each way and took 50 minutes. Now I live and work in Harrogate so it’s easier still.

  33. Downfader says:

    I couldnt get around if it wasnt for my bike. Buses are too unreliable and expensive, and most of my journeys are local (within 20 miles) so its pointless me having a car.

    I dont have problems with sweat or smells, I use quality cycle clothes and get changed at work. An ex-army friend once told me of the benefits of an “army wash” in the sink, but if its 5 miles or less I dont seem to sweat if I keep my speed under 25mph.

    The bike has been freedom for me, as well as just being fun and good exercise.

  34. Vinneh says:

    Couldn’t agree more with these sentiments. I remember when I first started riding – it was out of necessity but I gradually came to love it and now I miss the bike ride if I take the car. The only problem is rain, cold is no bother but getting wet is miserable.
    The key to winter cycling is the right equipment- well maintained bike and warm clothes, helmet with a brim, good lights.

  35. Chris meryl says:

    I agree with your comments re the wearing of a poppy! I noticed that people on the BBC seemed to start wearing them a few weeks ago and they don’t seem to have a choice in the matter. Isn’t freedom of thought and choice what people fought for in the war!!
    Originally white poppies were made by war widows etc of WW1 as a symbol of PEACE and it is a white poppy that my husband and I will be wearing!! I have made them but we have donated to the British Legion regardless. We will not be told what we should or should not wear!!

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