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The archive.


Well, the inevitable happened. I bought a bike. Not one with pedals, oh no. This one’s got an engine.

It all started when I moved to Ealing and found out that I had to get to Old Street and back every day. This is a long way. On the tube, it takes over an hour to do the journey in rush hour and that’s something that I’m paying £116 a month for. I bought a new mountain bike recently, mostly because my old one was stolen and part of me wondered if cycling would be a feasible option. Doing several journey planners indicated that the route would be a fairly simple 12 mile run each way.

I decided to test out my cycling theory a few weekends ago. From my house, I got as far as Shepherd’s Bush before deciding that the combination of London pot holes, the unsuitability of a mountain bike to road riding and my general level of unfitness made this idea a non-starter. As I waited by some traffic lights next to about 3,000 scooters, I had an idea.

I could buy and run a 125cc motorbike for a lot less money per year than I was spending on the tube. And my commute would be a lot faster. I did some research - I was looking to be spending about £100 on the CBT, £2000 on a bike, £400 on clothing and £300 on insurance. For something that would last me at least 2 years and give me a significant return on the bike sale at the end (should I want to), this was a lot better than going on the tube.

I booked and passed my CBT. It was a lot of slightly confusing fun - once I’d got my head around the notion of braking with my right foot and delicate clutch control with the left hand, I greatly enjoyed driving around Ealing at a blistering 18mph. Amusingly, I was the only person on the session other than the instructor, a trainee instructor who was observing and the DSA man doing a spot-check on the instructor.

I decided I wanted a Honda CBF125. This is quite a recent bike, so the used market is rather thin. After hunting through autotrader, I did find a private ad for what seemed to be a perfect deal, but after phoning the guy was told that I had missed it by about 10 minutes. I found a new one at a dealer about 20 miles away, so went for a test and liked it. Paid just over £2k.

Now I just need to get it insured and then I go to pick it up on Thursday. A new era involving not being depressed by the tube awaits.