Above is a picture of the gorgeous Cytronex Trek. (Thanks to Mark Searles of Cytronex for spotting my error in the original post.)
Hmm, maybe it's the Olympics, maybe it's following Kevin Tofel's occasional blogging/ twittering on cycling, I would like to think it's also a concern for the environment, that has prompted me to consider a new method of getting to work. The week after next I am to start worth for a different charity from the one I currently work for.
There will still be a base in Penzance where I am currently based, but 1.5 miles further out of town. There is just one bus in the mornings and practically none in the evening that would help to get me home by even 8pm. I have been catching the bus and walking for 15 minutes to get to work currently. If I were to continue this in my new job I would have to walk for 30t minutes. Not a problem in itself but in bad weather a bit of a chore which includes several hills.
The lifestyle change is my decision to take to two wheels. I have blogged about my trip on my mate Taff's Triumph Bonneville and it was something I enjoyed enough to consider buying a 125cc motorbike. On reflection I decided that I would be safer travelling at 15mph rather than 50mph. Also I have been putting quite a bit of weight on (hard to believe on this gazelle like frame I know). Cycling occurred to me as an ideal alternative alternative. By cycling I could get exercise at a more manageable 15 miles per hour.
There are downsides to this cunning plan. Cornwall hasn't been the land of sunshine it has been in previous years and we don't get all the luscious greenery that covers this beautiful land without paying the price. Rain and wind are a common combination in West Cornwall and the route to Penzance from home is exposed to the coast. I will have days when I really won't want to saddle up but doing things you don't really want is character building, so I'm told.
Whenever I feel like exercise I normally lie down until the feeling goes away. So, on the surface, this does look like a plan setup to fail.
On the positive side, I have carried out exercise in order to get to work for a few years now. In St. Austell it was up to 30 minutes from train to office, as part of a car, train and walking route; in Penzance a bus then 15 minute walk - it is becoming clear 15 minutes is not sufficient to keep on top of things.
Now for the cunning part of the cunning plan. Having examined all of the options I had two routes that I could go. One was folding bikes, that I could carry on the bus and use at the far end; the other was a standard bike. The folding bike in itself would be enough to reach work but not a huge amount of help if I missed the bus, I couldn't see myself making the hills out of the village. While researching the folding option, I came across AtoB magazine ( http://www.atob.org.uk/ ) and this alerted me to the latest developments in pedal assisted bikes. Pedal assisted is a term for electric bikes and these have come quite a long way it seems, far enough to have a number of distinct advantages ( http://www.atob.org.uk/electricbikeadvantages.htm ).
I have ruled out an electric folding bike, now that I have had a chance to see what full bikes can do. There are a number that are reported to have the power and range to take me, with me peddling too, to Penzance without raising a sweat (that has yet to be proven).
I won't bore you with all the bikes I have tried, save to say that there is a budget involved here, so sporty bikes with names like Pedelec are outside of my scope. The limit on price is set by the government and I am pleased, as I might not have spent an age looking before I found the bike for me.
What I now need to do, is get to Winchester to visit Cytronex at their shop. I hope to do this when passing there on holiday in early October. (For anyone interested in having a trial of this bike, Cytronex do have a booking facility on their website to be able to try one out in Winchester - I shall be doing so nearer the time.)