I haven’t. Zephirine and I are getting on famously, swishing around the mean streets of east London, adding tone to the neighbourhood.
However, I have just realised that I will be cycling to work slightly earlier than planned. The plan (more cunning than a fox which had just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University, etc) was to surrender my season ticket on 31st August and cycle into work from that date. I’ll be £100 a month better off, and not paying to be transported in conditions which would get an animal transporter heavily fined, shut down, and possibly jailed.
That’s the thing that really bites – I am paying the not-insignificant sum of £1,208 a year to be jammed nose to armpit with people who only have the most tenuous grasp of the concept of personal hygiene, blokes with hairy arms, women with enormous handbags, people who think that my life will be enriched by listening to their bangin’ choons through tinny mobile phone speakers, people who use their buggy as a battering ram, people who think their shopping is entitled to a seat, and all on a line that regularly hits 32C in some of the stations, and is even hotter on the trains. The sheer amount of pent up rage on the Central Line of a Monday morning is terrifying, and it’s not always so pent up – I have noticed an increasing number of “incidents,” from the raised voice to the full-on, fist-swinging brawl*, over the last couple of years, and I fail to see why I should subject myself to it on a daily basis.
I’m hoping, depending on the weather, to go to the Rosaparents for a long weekend, catching the train out of Waterloo on a Friday evening, and back on the Tuesday. I’m planning to take Zephirine, and we’ll go on some jaunts through the New Forest, maybe down to the seaside, that sort of thing. This is why it’s dependent on the weather – I can, after all, stay in London and get rained on, thank you.
This means that I have to cycle in to work on the morning of 20th August, with all my stuff in panniers. The 20th August is nine days away. This might not be happening, but we’ll see.
Unfortunately, there is no sensible** way out of where I live, heading West, without encountering road works, Olympic building works, Crossrail building works, general “let’s put these building works here to annoy Rosamundi,” building works, and the Mile End Road (of Death, as one cycling blog so reassuringly described it). However, given everything in paragraph two, I’d rather take the road works than the Central Line.
* Admittedly, this is extremely rare, but I can recall it happening more than once in the last twelve months.
** The definition of “sensible,” in this case: a route that doesn’t involve a detour of four miles to come out a mile down the original road, smack in the middle of the road works…