Eighteen months of cycling to the bus stop has taught me I need fifteen minutes for a relaxed ride, ten at speed, and about seven and a half when I forget my wallet and have to go back and get it. The bus leaves the next village at 0635, so I aim to set off by 0620.
How I expected to catch the bus on Wednesday after leaving home at half past six I’m not sure.
On arriving I cunningly worked out that I’d failed in this by the empty bus shelter and clock showing it was 0640. meaning I had to cycle to the railway station, five kilometres away from our village, and 200m lower, and the other end of a busy road. I’m a fairly experienced cyclist, I know how cars usually react and I know the road. The weather was dry and visibility clear. What could possibly go wrong?
Apart from, say, falling off at high speed and being run over by an SUV.
With this comforting thought I went through the traffic lights and dropped off the end of the world. There were a couple of interesting moments like the point the street lights stopped and we plunged into darkness on a sharp bend with a drop on the left hand side of the road. Fortunately a helpful driver assisted by driving close enough to my back wheel that he lit the road ahead of me. Stopping for traffic lights was interesting and my bottle dynamo will never be the same again, but I made it in plenty of time, and the bike was still in the bike shed -with wheels- when I came back in the afternoon.
I doubt I’ll make a habit of this as the ‘ride’ back took almost an hour of climbing via a road cycle-cross riders would reject out of hand, getting lost in a strange isolated housing estate with a thousand identical houses and crossing a seriously muddy field.
On the other hand, I could look smug when the students who commuted by car came in late, again.