I’ve been repeating my commuting experiment of July 2008 although the conditions have changed a little and I have other modes of transport available for my journey from Prestwich to Salford Quays: I have a different fleet of bikes and the folding one gives me other options, I now start work at 7:30 rather than 8:00 and in addition I’m a bit fitter than I was 15 months ago.
On Monday I went mixed mode using buses together with my folding bike. The journey in wasn’t quite as slick as it had been the previous few times when I’ve travelled from front door to the office in about 50 minutes. Disappointingly when the clock was ticking on Monday it was 70 minutes.
It seems that the 2nd bus I have been catching over recent weeks should depart 2 minutes before my arrival at the change-over stop on Great Cheetham St. Maybe things were running to time this week but I never saw the 51A that should have turned up a few minutes later. I could have unfolded the bike and cycled the second half of the journey shaving off 10 or 15 minutes but it was cold and frosty so I sat tight and caught a later bus.
The bike came into its own on the journey home as I cycled to Salford University for a visit to their sports injury clinic before riding on to Great Clowes street and catching a bus the rest of the way home.
On Tuesday it took me 25 minutes to ride in; the mountain bike is not as quick as the Trek hybrid was. The road bike can do it in just 19 minutes if I feel the need for speed although that sort of time requires both favourable climatic conditions and traffic lights.
Whilst riding home I noticed the back wheel was wobbly and looked down to see a couple of spokes missed. I wasn’t too annoyed as I’d already left kit at work and made the necessary arrangements to jog to work the following day.
Wednesday morning was beautiful; though there was very little cloud and stars were shining in the sky, it was mild, dry and windless. Perfect running conditions. The last time I ran to work I followed the course of the Irwell which was less direct and the mixture of terrains also slowed me a little. It took 57 minutes then but by following my usual cycling route and with my improved fitness I cut this down to a reasonable 45 minutes. I didn’t feel too uncomfortable afterwards although I desparately yerned for the SIS Rego recovery drink that I had forgotten to leave in the office.
The journey home was more challenging as it was generally uphill and I was tired because of a hard day in the office (!?). Because the rush hour traffic was building I had to stop at quite a few major road crossing but these little pauses were quite welcome.
Thursday was tram day and though I think it’s over-rated I have to admit I had slick changes in both directions. There was a 5 minute pause for some reason on the Eccles tram home so it could have been even quicker and I hear there’s another fare increase due to take the ticket price above the £5 it was today. Including the walks to the station it was 48 minutes in and 46 minutes home, so almost as quick as running.
Finally, Friday was car share day with thanks to Stewart giving me a lift in from Prestwich. We arranged for me to be at our usual rendezous point, the bus layby next to the Longfield centre, at 6:50. As I turned the corner onto Bury New Road I could see him and Hendo already parked up so there was no waiting time and he whisked me into work in about 24 minutes. Which means he wins my 2010 commuting challenge, hurrah for car sharing!