Monday, April 30, 2007

Why I don't catch the tube anymore

Disaster struck last Thursday night. I finished work at eight and went to pump up my bike tyres before cycling home. The rear tyre started to hiss.

I left my bike at work and caught the bus home. It started out slow and reduced to a crawl by the time we reached Oxford Street. A shop had been on fire and buses were being diverted down Regent Street.

The next morning I was running late and Oxford Street was still closed, meaning bus would have taken a long time. I had no choice but to take the tube and break almost two months of tube avoidance!

It was quick and easy but dark, dirty and smelly, just as I remembered. As soon as my morning class was over I went straight to the closest bike shop for a new inner tube. I'd never done any real bike repair before and I was surprised how easy it was. I felt much more proud of myself than I probably deserved.

Anyway, I was so glad to be back on my bike. I can't imagine a better commute to work anywhere in the world (although the ferry ride from Mui Wo to Central is still a very fond memory).

So here it is:

Out of the front door and past Seven Dials. If you enlarge the picture, you might just make out that Chicago is currently starring Australia's highest selling female recording artist.

From Seven Dials I head down towards St Martins in-the-Fields. If I'm lucky the bells will be ringing.

And past Trafalgar Square. Racing the taxis and buses here always puts me in a good mood.

The Mall is where I usually get the most speed up.

Past the big house.

And then through this path up the side of Green Park. Recently I've started to smell flowers which must be in the grounds of the palace.

The road around Wellington Arch is ugly and busy and chockas with traffic lights. But I get to ride straight through the arch and avoid all that!

This path through Hyde Park is the steepest part of the ride. Not bad.

I'm growing really fond of Kensington Gardens. I think I'd even say that it is my favourite London park. The trees here are beautiful.

After the parks I go through some quiet bits of Notting Hill.

And along Westbourne Park Road where ancestors lived, long before these estates were built.

Finally I reach Portobello Road, my destination.

And by that stage, I'm in a good mood and very ready for work.

And possibly looking forward to the ride home already.


Anonymous said...

Scenic. How long is the ride? Do you get changed afterwards?

j a s o n said...

Lovely day, lovely photos.

Suddenly living in London seems so good - hahaha, missing it already!

Victor the Anonymous, are you buying a bike next?

Joe said...

It takes about 25 minutes. I used to leave an hour for the tube, more if a line was closed.

I dress very casually for that job so no need to change - though I might have to start cycling slower as the weather warms up

Jason the onset of summer is the worst possible time to leave London!

j a s o n said...

Its the best time if you are going to Europe my friend!!!! I would not swap 100 European summers for 1 in UK.

Away with you UK, you land of miserableness!

Cal said...

Oh that's such a nice ride. Much as I love cycling around London my commute for four years was through the back streets of Islington (not bad), the City (chaotic and full of traffic lights and pedestrians who step out into the road without looking), over a bridge (jolly nice), round the Elephant & Castle (enough said surely, ghastly) and along the traffic choked, full of fumes Clapham Rd. I'm so jealous of you and your parks.

Mind you, now my commute is from my bedroom to my living room and/or back garden which ain't bad at all.

poody said...

That was so cool. I envy your route to work! I work 14 miles away and spend 45 mins every morning going to work and 1 hr going home!

Knuffy's Owner said...

Thanks for the guided tour! That is so cool.

I bought a kick scooter last year to commute from Wynyard to Town Hall because my bus only stops at Wynyard. It was great fun zooming past all the people on the footpath (and trying not to bowl them over).

In Ashfield we needed it for the long way home from the station, but now we've moved to Parramatta and for the first time ever the journey is pretty much door to door on the train! (Yes, that is part of all the news I've yet to tell you!)

Joe said...

Jason, I see that the misery is growing stronger in you. Escape before it takes over!

Cal I envy anyone that has the discipline to work from hom. I'm terrible at it!

Hey Poody! Is it downhill on the way there and uphill all the way back?

KO, how could you leave Ashfield? And for Parramatta! I need your news quick!