Another frosty Monday but today I am prepared. I’ve WD40’d the locks on the Mules, as Richard suggested. I’ve got my winter trousers back on (this time not requiring the assistance of a man who can bench-press 140lbs) and I’ve got the car key in my pocket so I can move it out of the way (it has to go. If anyone wants to buy a 4-year old Vauxhall Agila, please contact Highwaylass Quality Motors at the usual address).
But there is a new hurdle in my way – the ignition lock has frozen solid this time.
Small light bulb moment.
Back into the house, warm up the key on the gas hob. Try not to ignite the plastic at the top of the key. Put box of matches in pocket in case exercise needs repeating.
Lock the door, try not to burn self on key, rush round to bike before key gets cold, stick key in lock.
Lock frees up, bike starts.
Fret about whether I turned the gas off. Decide that if I do burn the house down it will save on hoovering.
Escape onto the road, wondering again why it is that I ride a bike.
Oh, that’s right – because it’s less stressful.
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Some commutes are about elegance and grace. Sometimes getting to work and not being dead seems reward enough. This is not a healthy place to be! but it’s where my head was as I passed Kings Cross this morning – it’s what happens when the phone starts ringing at 7 am and I end up with a very very small window of opportunity to get to Central London before an immovable deadline. I hate riding to a time limit, it makes me nervous and it makes me gamble on amber and attempt to stare down London Buses’ finest as we both lay claim to the same 6 foot of tarmac. If Boris wants to start slowly on his bus lane pledge, I nominate the Euston Road as his first target – being able to slide past the gridlock from Grays Inn Road to the left turn opposite Euston station would transform my stress levels. My usual beat down through Holborn to the Aldwych, thanks to roadworks and “improvements,” has been transformed from a broad and sweepy boulevard to a nightmare. So at Tavistock Square I took a gamble, took a right, and ended up bouncing over the cobbles round Covent Garden, which made me laugh because it feels like I’m riding somewhere I shouldn’t be. (And it’s the nearest Ruby’s going to get to off-road riding this week.) The cobbles shook off the bad mood and I parked up (small miracle in its own right!) with 10 minutes to spare. Thus proving that riding a bike is good for your mental health. I think.