Around the time I was made redundant I was also told I would have to find somewhere else for the boys and me to live as the landlord wanted to move back into the house. This left me with the issue of where to look for a job. I could look around where my boys were currently in school and stay there for a couple of years before changing their school and then moving in with my partner or I could make the school move now over to the school by my boyfriend. We decided that it would all depend on where I could get a good job.
I wasn’t out of work for long, I like to think due to a combination of a well written CV, good relations with ex employers, a wonderfully supportive partner and family and a lot of hard work looking for new jobs. I received a job description from an agent which looked ideal for me and, on requesting the company name, was excited to find out they were a company I knew and respected and, as a bonus, they were just five miles from my boyfriend’s house! Decision made.
By dint of research, enthusiasm and just plain being the right person for the job, it was offered to me and I leapt at the opportunity to take it. I had a major commute to begin with, having set the moving date to be in the school holidays, around six weeks away, curving around the M25 although fortunately that was the bulk of the drive as both ends were not far from the motorway.
The move happened (that’s about the best that can be said about it) and for a couple of days before I started back to work, my partner and I pored over maps, trying to find the best route in. That’s not entirely fair; we pored over maps, him trying to instill in me the route I should take. He’s a bit of a cyclist himself (more about that later) and it was a good route; I still use most of it, although it varies a little. In the end he resorted to driving me the route, more than once, pointing out the shortcuts I can take on the bike.
I’ve found my own variations; quieter, residential streets if the traffic is heavy at a certain set of traffic lights; conversely a section where it’s easier to stay on the main road with its bike lane and gentler undulations; also a loop I can take to increase the distance from five miles to eight if I’m long on energy or training for an event. Mornings are a relaxed ride but evenings are frantic, racing to get to after school club in time. I don’t appreciate it at the time but I’m sure it does fantastic things to my fitness “it doesn’t get easier, you just get faster”. Although the faster I get on the way to the school, the easier I can take it in the last 200m when I know I’m in good time, so it’s all good.
I can drive in, and do so more than I would like sometimes. I didn’t sleep well last night and my knee still hurts after my training run on Sunday so today I decided to drive in. I walked the boys into school and, if I’d had my bike, I would have set off from there at 7:55 and been in work by 8:20, showered; changed and sitting at my desk eating Weetabix and writing my blog by 8:45. As it was I got in my car at 8:00, headed off the wrong way because that was the direction my car was pointing and, two minutes later, was sitting in a one way street behind a stationary ambulance trying to work out how far I would have to reverse before I could turn around. I shouldn’t have done that either: having reversed and turned around at the point where the road became two way, I saw in my rear view mirror the ambulance and other vehicles pull away. I sighed and continued onwards, only to end up stuck in traffic at the other end of my road. Several traffic jams later, I flew into my office at 8:56, scoffed down a single Weetabix (having eaten chocolate on the way in out of sheer boredom) and landed, flustered, at my desk with a cup of instant at 9:00 exactly. This is another excellent reason to cycle to work.
So I spend my lunchtime worrying that the traffic will be as bad on the way home and I’ll be late picking up my boys when, had I been on my bike, I would have no such worries. As it turns out the drive home was remarkably smooth but I’ll still be riding in tomorrow.