noun: commute; plural noun: commutes.
1. A regular journey of some distance to and from one's place of work.
"the daily commute"
No app in its right mind would suggest this route, but perhaps that’s the aim.
Twenty kilometres there. Twenty kilometres back. Most days the aim is to arrive quickly and efficiently. Carve a trace amongst the buses and taxis until you join the daily peloton for the usual single-focus ride: across the bridge, along Embankment and back amongst the buses and taxis to the finish.
Why not make the regular irregular?
Deviate from the beaten path to find a more beat-up track that makes your ride, well, more upbeat.
Head to Richmond Park on any morning and you’ll find plenty of cyclists.
Smashing out laps or simply passing through, on bikes ranging from worn out workhorses to aero TT stallions, punching holes through the morning air. But it’s a big green space amongst the grey, and a chance to get amongst the foliage in the morning mist.
Early in the morning the single tracks around the park are deserted. It’s a chance to play; to ride amongst the deep grass; an opportunity to ride solo at a time when most are either sleeping or on someone else’s wheel. And the gravel demands your focus on one thing and one thing only: riding.
Exit the park, and instead of the bus lane, get up close to the river. In the shade of the trees, interspersed with sudden shafts of light breaking through the undergrowth, you feel the coolness of the early morning.
The river to your left, the boat houses to your right. Instead of white vans and bin lorries to accompany you, you have dog walkers and runners. The sight of rowers is somehow relaxing, seeing them effortlessly cut through the water, nothing in their way.
On this ride, everything is going against the flow, in every possible way.
Then it’s time for some bridge roulette. The next one will do. Head north of the river, and see where you end up. The further you get, the mind starts to focus. A flurry of cars and traffic lights greet you as you hit the main road. Then Hyde Park gate appears, and there is calm again.
Busier than Richmond earlier, the paths are littered with riders who have become fatigued with the battle on the bitumen.
Getting closer to the City and some things are unavoidable. As you exit the park past Marble Arch, you can start to feel the pressure mounting. A sense that time is running out, queues and traffic beginning to build. Time to head east.
At this point imagination helps to maintain the illusion – to maintain the adventure. Ducking down side streets, riding cobbles, climbing walls. Scouring the urban forest for all it has to offer…past the Horse Hospital and onto the Panther House.
Then everything is clear. Buildings look familiar, and it becomes apparent that these roads have been ridden before. Work is just around the corner. Time for one final stop, to reflect on the journey.
As you cross the square, the suits are beginning to arrive, stale from the underground, gripping their daytime drug coffee cups. A quick glance at the bike where white dust and grit clings to the down tube; remnants and reminders of the ride in.
An extended commute. An adventure commute. One that makes the post-ride coffee taste better and adds endorphin highs to the day ahead.