London is at the heart of the scoot commute, where the narrow roads provide no segregated space for cyclists, and the traffic congestion means that we totally rely on public transport. But there is another option, the scoot commute.
Scooting is so fun and easy, I can’t emphasise enough how important these two factors are. When getting in a car basically means sitting in a traffic jam, two wheels is often quicker, and of course healthier. But if you’re like me and perturbed by road danger, take to the pavements, through parks, and back streets, on a different set of two wheels – a kick scooter.
I took a trip from Manchester to London, with my SwiftyONE. Folding it to stow in the overhead shelf of a Virgin train. Arriving at Euston Station, I hopped on, self-propelled through the crowds.
My destination being Old Street Station, I could have taken the underground, I could have kept my SwiftyONE folded, stepped into a queue, ridden the escalators down underground, waited for a train on the northern line, and completed my journey underneath the city in stale air. But it was a sunny day, so I hopped on, manoeuvring, self-propelled through the crowds.
Outside, I hopped off the pavement at the sign of the green man, scooting diagonally across to a quiet back street. Enjoying the slight easterly decent of Euston Road, and avoiding the steep incline of Pentonville road, I took a route south down Kings Cross Road.
Approaching the junction of Roseberry Avenue with a few uphill scoots, and I came across Exmouth Market, what a perfect refreshment stop! It being lunchtime, I grabbed a bite to eat, and freewheeled down a side street and came across Spa Fields Park, perfect. Resting on a bench amongst the lavender, where other people were reading, taking a lunch stop, what a find!
After my lunch, I hopped back on my SwiftyONE, and pretty much flew down the rest of Farringdon Road pavement, avoiding the junction with Clerkenwell Road by nipping down Farringdon Lane and over the bridge. Feeling pretty invigorated after those freewheel sections, I came to Clerkenwell Road. A major east-west bus and cycle route. Feeling thankful that I could scoot on the pavement I kicked along the flat, as cyclists and buses trundled past me. Bikes and buses, now there’s a combination. The bus catches up with the bike, chasing it from 3m behind, it overtakes, spitting out dust and fumes into the cyclists face, then veers left to stop at the next bus stop. The cyclist overtakes the bus. There’s a traffic jam, the cyclist takes the inside gap, alongside the traffic in the gutter, queueing behind the other cyclists, all competing to be first off the lights. I’m feeling smug now – scooting is a breeze – I feel no danger!
I scooted on, stopping at junctions and crossing ahead of pedestrians. Passing cafes, interesting shops, I could stop for a second to investigate something that caught my eye, a new restaurant, a cosy looking pub. A welcome downhill section leading to my destination at Old Street Station was a chance to cool off, turning left and right, snaking down the broad pedestrianised section lined with trees.
The journey took 40 minutes including my lunch stop. I could probably do 2.5miles at a leisurely pace in 25 minutes on this route.
As a comparison, by checking the distance on Google maps, on foot it says 47 minutes, by car it says 19 minutes, and by tube 8 minutes. So if I was in a hurry, I’d choose the tube, but cycling I just find too frightening now, as much as I love cycling, I have found a new set of wheels, a new love, my SwiftyONE.