Now that I’m back on the bike in the mornings I am beginning to wonder whether it is really saving me any time at all. Certainly when I was doing the long and weary trudge on foot each way it felt like the bike ought to be faster, but that wasn’t taking into account the following morning routine:
Hunt down various bike bits (gloves, jacket, lock, lights, bag) from the places where they were so carelessly strewn the night before
Remember to change batteries on front light. Find batteries. Open light. Break nail. Curse designer of light for not considering how the bottom row of batteries might be removed (remember when battery cases came with a little ribbon to pull the batteries out? Ah, happy days). Attack batteries with butter knife. Tip batteries over floor. Replace with new batteries. Remember to pick up old batteries before other half breaks neck.
Go outside, unlock bike. Drop bottom half of lock which falls into area with a clang to waken the dead. Curse. Wrestle bin out of the way. Down the stairs, trip over ‘To Let’ sign which letting agents haven’t picked up after three months, find bottom half of lock, reunite with top half of lock, drop on foot, put in bag.
Get left arm into bilious yellow jacket. Partially dislocate shoulder getting right arm into jacket. Half way through, at the point where it looks as though I’m escaping from a badly fitted dayglo strait-jacket, see neighbour. Cheerily greet neighbour. Neighbour ignores me apart from the startled look that says ‘Oh my God the madwoman’s talking to me’. Zip up jacket. Put on gloves.
Fit lights to bike. Find the one light setting that isn’t an annoying (and not technically street-legal) flashing. Attempt to close bag. Take off gloves. Close bag. Put on gloves. Realise I still have my keys in my teeth. Attempt to get keys in jeans pocket with gloves on. Fail. Put keys back in teeth. Take off gloves. Put keys in pocket. Put on gloves.
Pick up bike bodily and lift it out of the gate, attempting not to knock mudguard. Knock mudguard. Get on bike. Try to set off. Realise mudguard is jammed up against wheel. Almost fall over. Get off bike. Kick mudguard back into position, set off.
Cycle to station. That was the easy bit.
Do it all again at the other end. Check watch. I reckon I’m saving about three minutes each way…