Commuting Reconnaissance Trip

I hope something out of the ordinary happened today because I couldn’t move. I was trapped in maelstrom of push bikes, cars and jackknifed buses.
Bikes were crammed into every available gap, going nowhere but making an ugly disheveled plug.
Others were hopping up on to the pavements looking for escape.
I was sat behind the bus tapping my fingers and wondering if I was supposed to be somewhere else.

I was having filter anxiety.

I was up early-ish today so I could nip out on a practice commute to the new job near Kings Cross, suss out motorbike parking availability and head back to the old job before my boss sent out a search party.

It started well enough, barely 5 minutes in and I had already successfully swerved out of the path of a car who thought he was a bus, then I was picked up by an outrider who held my hand (figuratively speaking) and showed me the ropes as he weaved in and out of cars, first the inside then the outside, all the way to Clapham. I was beginning to relax and then I lost him. I didn’t quite position myself well enough for this erratic side to side motion and thought I had plenty of time and could just wait for the bus to move, but it didn’t. Bikes were roaring past me 2 lanes to my right and I vowed not to get stuck on the inside again.

I eventually pushed and wobbled my way in between the stationary cars and enjoyed an extremely short clear run until a central reservation appeared and I had to make my choices. It was time to rejoin the chaos and get myself wedged into the Vauxhall Bridge roundabout and just pray for Bonnie sized gaps or give up and head back on roads that you could actually ride on. My petrol light came on at the pivotal moment, only 60 miles out of this tank full, and not wanting to add to the congestion by spluttering to a deathly stop I opted to pull an about turn and head back to Tooting.

So much for reconnaissance, I didn’t even make it across the river. At this rate I’ll have to set off at 6am or pull the push bike out of the shed.

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  • Is this your first venture into the capital on the bike? The first time I tried riding to work it was so overwhelming I bailed out at Finchley Road, left the bike in Sainsbury’s car park and finished on the the Jubilee Line. Try watching Mad Max 2 a few times to get your head in the right place 😉

    …but seriously, where are you trying to get to and from (general proximity rather than stalker-inviting details, obviously..)? I know some good traffic-dodging routes north of the river and maybe others will chip in too.

  • It was my first attempt to get into central London, I made it as far as Waterloo Bridge on Monday evening and planned to go the whole hog this morning but just couldn’t make it in the availble time frame.

    I’ve been looking around for a suitable forum that might offer up tips on commuting routes but haven’t spotted one yet.

    My route is Streatham to St Pancras hospital which is in the Mornington Crescent neck of the woods.

    My plan was to take the A23 through Brixton and Kennington to Waterloo Bridge or cut down the A3 round Clapham and Vauxhall again to Waterloo Bridge. Then its round Aldwych, up Kingsway, round Russel Square and up and over to Eversholt St allowing me to cut across to some potential bike parking spots around Mornington Crescent. It seems fairly straight forward north of the river but then I have no idea how congested it is.

    I do like your bailing out story and supermarket car parks sound like a very good option.

  • Hello! This would have been because of the Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club “gathering” on the other side of the river 🙂

    No To the Bike Parking Tax ask Crossroads Rider 🙂

    It is on again this Wednesday, just so you are informed, but not necessarily in that part of Westminster..