Wednesday, 24 March 2010

cycling in the city

Had my trial shift for a certain sandwich delivery company today, following the interview I detailed in the last post. I intended to get up at 6.30, leave by 7 and cycle to the DLR station but instead I got up at 7, left by 7.15 and got the bus to the DLR station. Figured I may as well use my weekly bus pass, although the buses took longer than I allowed for and I ended up being half an hour late for the trial. I did manage to get the DLR for free though (entirely by accident!).

Introduced myself to the office team, explained why I was late and apologised, then had a complimentary coffee while I waited for my shadowee to arrive. Introduced myself to him (René) when he arrived, then selected a spare bike, watched him set up the trailer, and we set off into the streets. Literally.

It's been a while since I've cycled in the road, so it took a bit of getting used to. Especially in Central London with buses, taxis, trucks and cars all over the place! Was slightly daunting at first but became easier with time. First stop was a car repair place, then we went to a Citroen garage and made a delivery at an office.

There were 11 stops overall, and most were offices. It was interesting seeing the range of places available to work in, although for the most part it just made me glad not to be working there! People were generally friendly, and sympathised with René about a competitor stealing his business (sympathy doesn't cost anything; they still bought food from the competitor because it was cheaper).

The four hours went surprisingly quickly, and the cycling was really fun. After the last stop René gave me the bike with the trailer to cycle back to the depot, and it handled quite differently to the one I'd been riding thus far! Luckily though I took into account the wider turning circle and avoided tipping the entire thing over. Upon returning to depot I spoke to the office team again and told them I'd really enjoyed it, then thanked René for showing me the ropes, received five sandwiches in 'payment', wished him luck for the future, and headed home.

DLR journey was relaxing, and it was free for the second time today. I genuinely tried to pay, but there was no information booth at the station and the community support officers there had no suggestions. To be honest though, if TFL can't put the facilities in place to assist passengers who have a problem paying their fare, they probably don't deserve the fare.

Prolonged my journey home by experimenting with buses, then chilled for a while before heading to the Post Office to post something I'd sold on Amazon. Unfortunately I got stung by lack of research, and it cost me more to post it than the buyer paid for it. Annoying but educational I guess.

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