So this happened a couple of weeks back but I have never got round to putting my experience down on this blog.
To start with let's get a few things in perspective - I have a reasonably responsible job, it is definitely a suit and tie type role (though I do seem to be able to get away without a tie nowadays more often than not). I live on the outskirts of London in the leafy burbs and work in central London.
Over the past 6 months (as anyone who reads this blog will already know- anyone? - anyone?) I have taken up commuting to work - now 95% of the time I use my bike for a journey - I use my big black expensive luxury car about twice a week now for about 10 miles in total (yet it devalues at about 5 expensive bikes a year). But what I have yet to do is to use my bike as part of my job - it has always been about getting to and from work.
Two weeks ago I had to attend an off-site meeting, it was for a very serious affair where I had to check out a deal for potential fraud (can't say much more than that now, so you can guess how it might have gone). Anyway, every time previously I have been to this off-site location for a meeting it has taken me about 80 minutes using a mixture of walking, tube and bus. But I noticed when I looked at it on my Sat Nav, that it was only 7 miles away by bike (so 14 miles all told), so I decided that as it was a wonderful day that I would use my bike instead.
I was amazed to find that, although I was already tired before I set out due to the large amount of miles (well for me at least) I had done during the week that I got to the meeting in 25 minutes. I had allowed 40 minutes for the route as I was unsure of what I would face on the way and my legs were already aching big time. The net result was that for the first time in my life I was early for a meeting (I am famous for being fashionably late). I wasn't grumpy at having been stuck on a various forms of grubby smelly public transport for an hour, and I was definitely the coolest dressed guy at the meeting (well I always think that anyway).
So here's my next mission - I will have to go out and check on a number of projects over the coming months and I have decided that as long as the weather is fine and it is not more than a 20 mile round trip (and there is somewhere safe to leave the bike) I will now try and cycle to these meetings.
One of the wonderful things about using the bike is you really get to see more of London - this is obviously limited on my commute as I basically do the same route most of the time with only small deviations - but if I use my bike for meetings then I can really get to see much more of London up close. It will also help me up my weekly mileage a bit. I think it something others should give a try to if they can.