So, yesterday, I did what I’ve been threatening for a while and cycled to work. And just because I could (and am scared of traffic) I did it on canal towpaths and the West Brom cycle route that runs alongside the Metro line.
View Ride to work in a larger mapAll in all I successfully managed to go a pretty long way (just over 9 miles) avoiding roads and traffic the whole way. Some high points:
- Feeling smug in Wednesbury as I cycled past one of the people who I normally see on the Metro, my usual way of getting in to work. “Ha, I’m getting exercise”
- Making a pretty good time, around 1hr 40 mins – and that was with stops to: check my location on the satnav I took along; drink water; fiddle with iPod. As a comparison, door to door Metro journey takes 50 minutes, in the car it can be anything between 20 mins and 1.5 hrs depending on traffic (seriously).
- Listening to John Coltrane, a Love Supreme whilst cycling (but unfortunately the quiet bits are a bit lost.
- Discovering the fantastic flat, smooth route running alongside the Metro (even if the trams did overtake me)
- Being surprised by the big long run of around 20 consecutive locks in the centre of Brum running through the Jewellery Quarter area (no, not those kind of locks, canal locks – ba boom)
- Cycling with a helmet for the first time and not being too self conscious about it
- Nodding/smiling at dog walkers and passing boat people.
- Discovering the showers at work at BIAD – excellent!
- Using my Garmin car satnav to determine location, handy.
- Finding out that I didn’t use the A-Z I’d packed, so no need next time = lighter bag.
- Passing a heron standing on my side of the towpath, which only flew off just as a reached it – something I can’t do on the Metro or driving!
And of course, some low points:
- Realising my bag was a bit heavy and awkward, although next time I will already have my towel here, and a couple of other bits.
- The hill up to Hill Top before I got on the Metro line, it nearly finished me and it’s the first part of the journey.
- Realising on the way back, I’ll need to go up through all those locks in Birmingham, and they were very windy mixed in with tunnel towpaths. May need pushing.
- It’s not very picturesque – unless you like looking at large foundries, I’m sure some people do.
Realising I’d forgotten my Metro pass for the journey home – I am definitely not cycling home today, will leave my bike here and do it on Tuesday.So all in all, it was great fun. I think I’m going to make a habit of it, at least cycling to work one day, and then cycling back another, maybe twice a week. Which would mean around 36miles cycling a week. Anyone who knows me knows that is A LOT OF CYCLING. Oh and next time, I’ll take some pics for your delectation.