On yer bike!

I’ve never really embraced the joys of cycling. It’s something else I’ve dabbled with over the years – like learning the guitar, aromatherapy and toy boys. But it’s never quite worked for me. I think there’s two reasons for this. One is that I’ve never been able to come to terms with the pain of perching on a hard bit of plastic and the aftermath that goes with it, and the other is that I actually want to live. But after another woeful journey on the Central Line, is it something I really should consider?

Take this morning, for instance. I got on the platform only to join the 20,000 other people who are stood staring open-mouthed at the digital display unit in despair. Of course it’s yet another torturous journey. Squashed up against the rucksack of an unwashed student being slightly preferable to the armpit of the punk. And then we stop. No explanation. The Lord Almighty only knows why! The wrong kind of passenger on the line? Signal failure in Aberdeen. I’ve long given up taking notice of the muffled excuses of the driver.

It’s after those arduous journeys that I long to be mistress of my own travel arrangements. Being above the ground in the fresh air, the wind in my cycle helmet and the smell of exhaust fumes can’t possibly be worse than being involuntarily entered into that killer sauna competition. Trouble is, it doesn’t end there. Negotiating the concourse at Liverpool street is just as dangerous as my emergence always co-incides with National Express emptying half of Hertfordshire into the station. Even if I manage to avoid a clash of foreheads, I’m usually tripped up by their well-hidden, pull-along suitcase.

So it with a sigh of relief that I stagger onto the pavement with most of my person intact, bar my big toe, only to be whisked off down Broadgate on some fluorescent clad, speed freak’s handle bars! I mean do red lights not apply to cyclists?? That’s swiftly followed by a swarm of them coming round the corner at breakneck speed. Is ‘swarm’ the correct term for a lot of cyclists, anyway? Should be a Deathtrap of Cyclists. Whatever it is, they’re bloody everywhere, appearing out of nowhere everytime I try to cross the street. You know, maybe deep down I’m just jealous. Despite the impending and likely grizzly death, they always look fit and healthy, lithe and tanned. Out in the fresh air rather than holed up underground with 2 dozen sugar-enhanced 8 year olds on a school trip.

So what am I saying here (if you’re still awake, I’ll enlighten you). I hate commuting. It’s expensive and full of other miserable buggers going to work! But I’m too scared to cycle. So I won’t. And anyway, my dad said I can’t. I’ll continue an unhealthy, unfit, squished, poor commuter. Maybe someone will invent that jetpack in my lifetime. Anything’s possible.

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