I didn’t do the usual cycle route. The thought of traffic careering past me in Acre Lane at that fateful spot was sufficient to undermine my previously resolute determination. Instead I followed the quieter route past the Cutty Sark, through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel and past Canary Wharf this morning. I finally emerged in central London around Tower Bridge.
Quite justifiably, London Transport don’t allow people like me to take their bikes on to the tube network. (If I was cycling on a fold-up bike then I would be able to, but really, I do want to preserve what butch-image I have and cycling on a fold-up bike isn’t going to achieve that.) My remaining options were either to pedal the rest of the way from Tower Bridge to White City (it’s an additional 6 miles which would make my total for the day a staggering 24 miles – that isn’t going to happen) or to chain it up somewhere.
Despite having spent £30 only the day before on a second lock for my bike, paranoia still kicked in. I needed to find somewhere where my bike was seen by as many people as possible. Perhaps outside a reputable City company, I thought. In a position like that no opportunist thief is going to entertain the idea of trying to break both bike locks and walk off with my slightly damaged bicycle.
I still felt a little bit of fear. With lorries and buses thundering past and this being a relatively unusual part of London I started to feel a little bit sorry for my bike as though it was a member of the family. I didn’t like the idea of my bike being in an unusual place. I didn’t want it to be on it’s own. I didn’t want it to be intimidated by some thug looking for a thieving opportunity.
I checked the locks four times and then shuffled off in the direction of the tube station, feeling for the first time ever like I had left my non-existent child at the nursery for the day.
Time to dig out my therapist’s telephone number, I think.