So what was good and what was bad? Well lets start with the good, the parts that I will miss. Riding some great roads in glorious sunshine has certainly been a highlight. I found several different routes, all of which I enjoyed to the extent that I would be happy to head out and ride just to ride them. The A285, A272 and parts of the A29 were fantastic when clear and still reasonably enjoyable when traffic levels were a little higher.
So what was the bad? The distance was really the biggest issue. Being on the bike for four and a half to five hours a day, three days a week may sound like heaven, but in reality its extremely draining. I was only really home for about 90mins in the evening before I needed to get to bed in order to get enough sleep, just to wake up and do it all again. Stick an eight hour working day in there as well and it can grind if the conditions are less than perfect. This distance also meant that I was filling the bike up twice a day. Once on the way there and once on the way back. Great for my Nectar points, but bad for my bank balance and the wear and tear on the bikes.
I certainly won't miss the dirty diesels I encountered, which could be anything from a lorry, to a van to a poorly maintained saloon. Even wearing a Buff neck tube I felt like I was being gassed at times and just had to get past them into some cleaner air, even when deep in the Sussex countryside. Not to mention, the smoke that is coming out of the back of those things, is still partially liquid and leaves clothes and bikes filthy.
I won't miss the drivers who never seem to understand the phrase 'Keep left'. They quickly became a bane in my life. I'm not for one second sitting here saying that I have the sole right to use the middle on right lanes, but when there is enough space on the left and you're not making any progress compared with people already in that lane, get over there dude. Really, just pay attention to what is going on around you.
With an extended time on the bike, I found myself, and I'm being totally honest here, riding very antisocially. There were times, many of them in fact, where I just wanted to get home and utilised the size and speed on the bike to make some serious progress on those around me on the motorways and fast A road sections of my route. Clever? No. Dangerous? Most certainly. I took a few drivers clearly by surprise and for that I can only apologise.
So, as of later this week, my commute becomes a 15min casual ride down the road and I can't wait. After working over a decade in Central London I was extremely glad to see the back of the commute as I was sure I would suffer another serious accident. Been there, done that, really don't want to do it again thank you very much.
I could really see that doing such a long commute over a prolonged period of time would have resulted in something very bad happening and that would probably have been my fault. My final words could so easily have been 'Ahh, fuck it, why not!'
When it comes down to it. I survived and that, in the shadow of everything else, is all that really matters.