Purveyor of Tall Tales.

He rides again…

Yesterday was my first day on my new commute.

I haven’t changed jobs. After several years experimenting with commuting by train, and alternatively by foot, I finally decided that the only viable solution was to combine the two thus eliminating the wasted time walking at either end. It also increased my choice of trains, reducing waiting times, by fifty percent.

Before we moved out to the suburbs I cycled all the time. The route from Bow to Soho is perfect for this: a light half hour ride on a relatively simple route and considerably faster than the train. I was in the best shape of my life and I loved it.

Two things changed that: I got severe bronchitis that took me out for about ten weeks (I coughed up blood – but not like I used to as the joke goes…) and we moved two zones further out. When I attempted the commute from Abbey Wood I found that my fitness level had dropped too far, 26 miles a day, five days a week, proving beyond me if I wanted to remain conscious for the evening. Periodically, I would give it another go but the same thing happened every time: it just wiped me out.

Anyway, the commute by foot and train gives me the chance to read but it takes forever. There’s a fifteen minute walk to the station, the train is never on time so there’s a wait, the train takes forty-five minutes to an hour depending on delays, and then a twenty minute walk. Evenings are worse. Sometimes my boss, who lives in Bristol, gets home before me. I couldn’t carry on like that. The fold up was the obvious solution.

After my first day I can report the following:

1. It is indeed faster.
2. I should not cycle without coffee inside me.
3. Fellow commuters frown on accidental headbutting due to forgetting to remove helmet.
4. If I do not zip up my pocket I will lose stuff (I already learned this lesson the hard way when I commuted from Bow but apparently it didn’t stick).
5. Fellow commuters look at you like you’re some kind of three headed freak for bring a fold up on the train. At least I think they do, it might be worse: they might think I am a geography teacher.

For those of you wondering: it reduced my evening commute from an hour and a half, on average, to 1 hour door to door. No prizes for guessing what I am spending the extra time doing…

What are your top commuter tips?

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