A London Commute


Technically this week is not “Alex’s Blog as I am sunning myself in Mexico this week, but I am handing you over to the very capable Emma from our Hanger Lane branch, until next time,


So, after today’s beautifully cold and soggy commute to work, I’ve just sat down for lunch with a lovely cup of tea and a rather oversized packet of crisps thinking about how much I loathe London traffic, a few little things that get on my nerves about riding… Don’t get me wrong, nothing is ever going to stop me riding, but these few little things… the term ‘pain in the butt’ doesn’t quite describe them enough.

Today, I seemed to gain a brilliant collection of spattered insects and salt plaguing my helmet, that a taxidermist would be jealous of. A lovely array of wings and legs decorated my visor but best of all, I was treated to a few friendly visitors inclusive but not limited to a beetle, a leaf, a bag for life (how ironic if it had caused me to crash) and a huge fly… down the dual carriage way… inside my visor (The fly, not the bag… that’d just be bizarre). Good job I was coming off on the next slip road, closing my eyes got a bit daunting whilst frantically hitting my face.

Along with the glorious grey weather, naturally came swimming… in a puddle so deep that I could have won the gold medal in a 400m freestyle swimming race. Not exactly the thing I want when my poor old VFR400 decides it’s allergic to water, constantly breaks when damp because the spark plug caps are slightly too big, then runs on two or three cylinders which in turn makes me kangaroo down the road. Joyous times. The bike’s got ‘character’.

Something that really ‘grinds my gears’ (Ignore the pun), is when people attempt to drive their cars down a traffic infested three lane carriage way, I’ll be filtering away, minding my own business just trying to get from A to B and then BOOM! Someone attempts to pull out. No indication, no mirror checking, no sign of being sorry. Just acting like a complete imbecile. If you check your mirrors, then indicate, I don’t have a problem with that, however, if you don’t, you’ll receive a gesture that I’m pretty sure my mother would be ashamed of.

Alas, not all car drivers are absolute beep beeps, those people that pull over ever so slightly in their lane to allow me to emerge through a gap that an octopus would have difficulty with… they’re my unofficial commuting buddies. On the subject of friends, to those fellow riders that nod (admittedly, only a select few people in the mornings), I go a bit warm and fuzzy inside… it’s the equivalent of a giant high five. A band of brothers and sisters braving the perils also known as ‘London’.

Winter… Ahh, winter you unapologisingly sad season, wet, freezing and more fog than a smoke machine in an 80’s disco. That’s the daily struggle of my commute before I introduced a Pinlock into my life. Wow… these things really make a difference. Gone are the days of having to constantly faff with my visor to make sure I left a small gap so air could circulate; possibly the best thirty quid I’ve ever spent and now I don’t actually dread the commute! Wahey! If you haven’t yet purchased one, you won’t be disappointed if you do; alternatively, if your visor doesn’t have those little pins to allow for a Pinlock, have no fear.. Bob Heath’s anti fog spray works a treat too, especially in the winter months, as do Base Layers and Hi viz clothing.

Keep it shiny side up!

Emma Matthews

Bike enthusiast and general pain in the butt.