On Yer Bike!

My annual bus ticket ran out about a week ago. I looked on the First website and discovered that since February 2011 when I bought my last ticket for £299, in their wisdom the bus company had decided to put the cost of the ticket up to an eyewatering £380. That’s an exciting 27% increase in the space of one year! Naturally this made me angry, because the service you receive is awful and they have also significantly reduced the number of buses that run over the last year. Loathe to pay a lot more for a depleted service I decided to try and find an alternative.

My daily commute is only 3 miles each way, which is walkable, but it takes an hour. I wasn’t happy to commit that amount of my time each day to the journey. So cycling seemed like the only viable alternative. Problem was, I didn’t have a bike and neither did the Boy. I’ve been keeping an eye on secondhand bikes on Ebay for a while now, just in case but nothing finished close enough for us to collect or cheap enough to be worth it. I took a different tack and checked out Gumtree instead. This was much more fertile ground, and we now have accumulated three bikes for a total of £55! We’re looking to fix up the third bike to sell on, to recoup some of the costs. However, I’m still happy we got a bargain, especially as two of the bikes were kindly delivered to our home!

My sub-£20 rather nice Raleigh bike!

I have made the journey once so far, bringing the first bike home from the city centre. It’s fair to say that I am not a confident cyclist, indeed my plans were scuppered this week because of the snow and ice, forcing me to buy a week ticket on the bus because I was too scared of riding in the slippery conditions. Maybe next winter I’ll feel a bit braver! But that first journey was OK. I hadn’t prepared for overheating on the big hill on the way home, so I had to stop at the top and remove my woolen scarf! Other than that though, the journey was cautious, but fine. It took me a whisker under 40 minutes, door to door, which is about the same as getting the bus once you account for walking to the relevant bus stops. I’m hoping that eventually I’ll get this time down, perhaps to 30 minutes. Who knows, one day I might be down to 20 minutes and that will represent a significant time saving on getting the bus, as well as a cost saving!

Another bonus is that cycling home takes me past an Aldi, which is usually out of my way. They occasionally have good deals on fruit and veg, so this might end up saving us even more money (and I won’t have to go to Tesco, which can only be a good thing!).


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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