Back in saddle again

Both literally and figuratively. After nearly 5 months of not working, I’m now about to start work again. I’ve just completed contract formalities for a 3 month contract in Croydon, south London. It’s all going to be a bit of a shock to the system having to go into work each day. A man can get used to the sort of lifestyle where you don’t really know – or care – what day of the week it is. However, money just seems to fall out of your pocket walking down London streets, so getting paid will be good. Probably good that I don’t have to wear a suit every day though.

I’ve also just picked up my new bike – a Thorn Raven Tour. It’s a pretty cool bike, although it’s not going to win any beauty contests. However, it is a tough bike, built for riding around the world. Not sure that I’ll ever do that in one go, but country by country I’ll manage it. It’s not cheap either, but I figure if I can still be riding the same frame and some of the components in 10 years time, then it’s worth it. One of the things making it so expensive is the Rohloff hub – rather than a derailleur like most modern bikes, it has a sealed rear hub, with 14 gears, all internal. Just one sprocket visible at the rear, and one chain ring at the front. It has the same range as a 27-speed system, but in larger steps. The basic idea is that if you can seal all the working parts, then your maintenance becomes more or less non-existent. All I have to do is change the oil every 5,000km or so, and keep an eye on the shifter cable. I’ll add a section to my website in the next few weeks with pictures and specs.

Not only am I now gainfully employed, I am also no longer homeless! I’ve just finished sorting out getting a flat in Croydon. A nice flat, with a bit of a back yard, somewhere to put the bike, and a greenhouse even. I could start growing tomatoes. Definitely have to have some kitchen herbs. You can’t live in London without a minimum 1 hour commute on a cramped tube, right? Or failing that, at least an unreliable bus that only turns up when the driver feels like it? Well, I’ve got a pretty tough commute – a 5 minute walk. I think I only need to cross one road. Plus East Croydon is pretty well-served by trains and trams. I can get to London Bridge or Victoria in around 15-20 minutes, and trains run regularly all through the day. There’s even late night trains, so I can go out to say Clapham, and get the train back, no problems. Plus Gatwick Airport is one stop on the train from here, so planning a few city breaks should be pretty easy. And there’s even a Walkabout in Croydon! Hmm, actually maybe it’s not so great here…