A blog which I follow had a recent entry which posed a question. Ride more? Or wash more?
Well, the Mrs needed to renew her passport at the French Consulate in London, and had made an appointment for the Friday morning.
Now, how was she to get there? Of course the choices were: to take the train, car, or ask me to take her on the bike.
Train: the first problem lies in getting to the station. This would have involved a walk to the bus stop, a £2 bus journey, the inevitable delays on First Great Western, and an underground trip on the tube. Then the same process reversed to get home again.
Car: the problem here was not only the cost of petrol, but also having to pay the London congestion charge. Then finding a place to park, with its additional London-weighted charges.
Bike: Hmm. No congestion charge. Free parking (it’s not run by Westminster City Council but by Kensington and Chelsea). The odds are heavily favouring the bike at this stage.
The weather forecast was for rain and heavy snow. Pah. A mere trifle.
So we took the bike. I stuck rigidly to the speed limit – we left early so had plenty of time. My heated gloves and heated grips meant I didn’t feel the cold at all. We were chatting away through the Autocom with a cd playing in the background. Lovely.
As for the rain and heavy snow – well, we had a bit of sleet when we left home but other than that, it was just a bit of drizzle. The roads were clear; traffic was fairly light and I didn’t even need to filter.
We got there with plenty of time to spare, so we went to a small coffee shop near Kensington tube station where we each had a coffee. Then off she went to her appointment. I needed the lavatory so went across the road to the Natural History museum (that large dinosaur is still in the entrance hall in case you were wondering.)
Then I went back to check on the bike which was parked just around the corner on its own in a solo motorcycle parking bay (obviously everyone else had believed the forecast and had left their bikes at home). On the journey in I’d noticed that one of the auxiliary light bulbs had blown, so I dug a spare bulb out of the toolkit and changed it. I then wandered back to the entrance of the French Consulate and loafed about some more. By this time the rain had stopped, so I people-watched for a while.
Then the Mrs came out, having been in there for a total of about 40 minutes which wasn’t too bad. We had a fairly relaxed journey home.
Of course the bike is covered with greyish road salt and muck, so will need to be washed this weekend. But overall, taking the bike was the best choice. Oh – and total cost for the round trip (including coffees) was around £15. The bus/train/tube would have cost £40. For one person.
And the answer to the question? Ride more of course!