As predicted, on the weekend I enjoyed – rather than endured – the trip from Hull* to London (THAT trip – cyclists and straphangers). I rode by folder to the station. I folded my ride into a neat little bundle and popped it in the luggage rack. I sat for 2 hours and 40 odd minutes, watching the world go by, reading MBA materials, fiddling with WordPress (causing occasional grunts of frustration) and sipping mugs of coffee. And to completly debunk the cost myth, I travelled first class from Hull to London for around £80 (which was only a little more than standard class, included all the java you could swig, biscuits you could munch and a whopping big table to spread my books out on). If using the Odoni expenses regime to calculate the road cost, this 432 mile round trip would have a comparative road price tag of £194. With no reading. No fiddling with WordPress. No regular supply of coffee. According to Google maps, it was also a good one hour quicker. There are caveats here are of course; I travelled on the weekend, booked well in advance and the train route is very direct. Nonetheless; train and bike was a clear winner. So cop that Mr Beamer.
Courtesy of weekend timing and a short journey through Bloomsbury and Holborn, travelling around the big smoke was very enjoyable. At the moment, it has a sense of being the frontline in the ‘war on improving the lot of cyclists’ (doesn’t trip off the tongue like ‘war on terror’ but hey – I didn’t invent these bushisms) and in the centre of the city, you can see where in-roads have been made, with well used Boris bike stations, neat little cycle lanes (around Bloomsbury at least) and lots of visible cyclists. I even saw a family whipping by in a Christiana, something I’d never thought I’d see near Euston Road. Good stuff and a step in the right direction. In the meantime however, we’ll keep lobbying for a bloody huge leap in every direction. And as a Cardiff lad, I’m looking forward to see how Welsh Government proposals for mandatory cycle routes play out. Will it be a gold star for joined up thinking? Or will local authorities become increasingly inventive in their application of useless cycle infrastructure? Time will tell. Ever the optimist, I’m sure the smart, heroic people in Welsh government will have the courage, commitment and dashing good looks to ensure success.
I took a snap or two on my rounds. Some are from Hull. Some from London.
*If you’re wondering why I travelled from Cardiff, to Hull to London and back, an Open University tutorial inconveniently fell in the middle of a trip to see family. Suffice to say; I have bags under my eyes today.