Back in the saddle - John C. Kirk
Oct. 26th, 2008
11:02 pm - Back in the saddle
Following up on Friday's post, today I took my Brompton into central London; Sunday is quite a good day for that, since the square mile is pretty much deserted. I did diverge from my planned route a few times, but that's ok. I've often said that the best way to get to know a new area is to get lost: by the time you get to where you want to be, you've already been everywhere else! It took me roughly the same amount of time to reach each destination that it would have done on the tube/bus (allowing for walking at each end), and I definitely prefer to be out in the fresh air. Mind you, I did get a bit soggy, so I might need to get some waterproof trousers and dig out my cagoule. On the plus side, my front luggage (cloth pannier) did a pretty good job of being waterproof.
One thing that did seem odd is that my eyes weren't covered. On a motorbike, I have a visor on the front of my helmet, and on a snowboard I wear a mask, so it's a bit strange to feel the wind. It's not a problem, it's just unusual. Speaking of clothing, I've been pondering how many layers to wear. If I'm walking around outside at this time of year, I normally wear a hoodie or a coat; however, on the bike I've found that I get too hot if I wear anything on top of my T-shirt. That implies that I'm working harder, i.e. doing more exercise, so that has to be a good thing. In fact, I've had to keep pulling up my jeans today; that's partly because my belt broke during the ETA course, but hopefully I'll be able to shift down a waist size soon.
One thing about the bike is that I need to travel light. The front pannier only has a certain amount of space, and I wound up with it crammed full today. There is a touring pannier that's a bit bigger, but then I'd be running into weight limits. The maximum load for the bike is 110kg (rider + luggage), and the max load for the front pannier is 10kg. In my case, I weigh about 99kg fully clothed, and the full pannier weighed 9kg today, so I'm getting quite close to both limits. It's not really a problem, it just means that I need to plan ahead, and only carry what I need. If I'm going to the supermarket, it would be better to take the bus so that I can bring back several carrier bags.
More generally, I've been wondering where I can take the bike. If I'm at work, I can stick it in my office, and Gosh! (comic shop) were happy for me to leave it behind the door. However, I don't think that it would fit into a locker at the gym, and there's nowhere convenient to store it at the local library. Similarly, I think it would be awkward to take it into a cinema, theatre, or restaurant, even if I put it in a bag. Ideally, I'd like to see some storage lockers dotted around for folding bikes (the equivalent of cycle stands), but that's probably not going to happen in the imminent future. I could chain it up outside, but I don't have a lock, and that goes against the point of a folding bike. Again, it comes back to planning; I'll probably need to either leave the bike at home some days, or come back home and then head back out again. Anyway, I can figure that out as I go along.