I have a dilemma. I’ve had this dilemma since about March. I’m losing my parking space at work, which, in London was very useful. I had originally been given one that the company rented, but the owners took them back and I was given a temporary space within our building. The reason I had one is that I have a form of arthritis called AS (Ankylosing Spondylitis) and I have limited neck movement and had a major flare up in my knees in 2009 and had difficulty walking. It’s better now and under control with long-term medication. However, my company can no longer justify giving me this space (I have fought it, but I’ve run out of ammunition).
My first idea was to pay someone in a neighbouring street for the use of their driveway. It can be very lucrative for people and there are lots of websites where you can advertise your driveway or garage for short-term or long-term rental. I couldn’t find anything nearby so I did a leaflet drop, but got nothing. I then discovered that I could rent about 5 streets away from work at a cost of £100 a month. However, another 4 streets further and I can park for nothing. It would mean a 25 minute walk which would prove a little too far for me with my condition and very tight on time when I have to dash from school/nursery run to work.
So then, I came up with an ingenious plan. If I bought a fold up bike, park for free and ride to work, I could probably do it in about 7-10 minutes. No weight on my knees and provided I didn’t push myself it shouldn’t be too painful. The added bonus is that I can get some much needed exercise (admittedly not much, but 20 min a day for 4 days is ok).
Flaw to the plan? Well yes there are a few.
Firstly, the cost. Whilst I could get a cheap fold up bike, reviews aren’t great and they don’t fold brilliantly so I’ve fallen in love with the Brompton bike. It is beautiful but it costs £810 for the most basic model (arghhhh). However, considering I was looking to pay £1200 a year for a parking space, then it is cheaper and I can get a finance deal with a bike shop.
Secondly, The Rain. What do I do when I’m in my work gear and it is pouring with rain. Well I’ve googled it, and a cycling cape seems to be the answer. It has thumb grips that allow you to hold on to the handlebars and effectively cover your legs. Might not work every time, but certainly worth considering.
Thirdly, my condition/age. I’m not that fit and some days are worse than others in the ole knee department. I haven’t found the best idea for this. If I happen to be having a bad week I could appeal for a temporary visitors space at work I guess. Fitness wise, I am hoping I’ll get better and better as it goes on.
Fourthly (if that is a word), wearing dresses and skirts. Well thankfully I don’t wear them that often. I have a few ideas for this. I could occasionally ask the receptionist for a visitor space and if there is one, I could opt to wear a dress then. Or, I could consider wearing trousers into work and then changing. Although I really want to avoid this if I can.
I think it’s the right decision. I think once having a Brompton we’ll find lots of scenarios where it will be helpful to have a fold up bike. Hubby might find it useful (a ticket just to Waterloo and a bike ride onwards would be cheaper). I could meet my family and friends nearby by cycling there and coming back by car.
Am I mad or is this the best decision ever?