The C word. I have come to realise that for all of it’s problems, the lies of Government, the scandalous lack of strategy and the resultant change in life as we know it, there have been positives. I have been guilty of becoming negative about the whole situation, particularly the poor leadership and now acknowledge that this is no way to be. I cannot change what has happened nor influence the greedy, lying incompetence of the ruling class. So after today’s post, I will no longer post Total UK deaths and try to avoid it. For want of a better expression, to celebrate, I detail below what has been positive for me, of which there are a few.
Money savings: the Friday before lock down, put £30 of petrol to power my 2.5 litre Ford Freda van. On a good week, this is all I fill it with but it is probably more at the height of the cricket season taxiing the boys to training and matches as well as getting me to 2 matches a week. Moreover, no cricket means no match fees to pay or beer to buy over the bar afterwards. Since lock down, I have been to the petrol station twice for £30 and then another £20 3 weeks ago. The tank is still a quarter full. That van is the most economical vehicle in the neighbourhood, costing £3.60 per week in the 14 weeks since lock down and counting. The longest that I went without driving it was 3 weeks and 2 days. Now that things are easing, I take her out once a week and feel dirty when I do.
The R-rate: Relating to the C word, this is explained here if you didn’t know already but for anyone who has been on another planet for the last 3 months. The “R” number is the reproduction number, and refers to the number of people an infected individual could pass the virus to. The higher the R value, the more infectious the virus. R2 means one person can pass Covid-19 to two people while R10 means it can be transmitted to 10. This is currently estimated to be 0.8-1 in the UK although there are regional variations. My R rate means something different. This is my Ride rate. This calculated by dividing the number bike rides by the number of days in the year. The higher the R-rate, the fitter I am. My R rate currently stands at 1.29 (235 rides in 182 days).
The LOVE: Many people have embraced the love of the NHS and key workers as a focal point in this crisis. The Thursday evening clapping at the front door and appropriating the rainbow as a symbol of hope are among a few examples. Selflessly donating food and practical items to my colleagues is another. I have noticed many pictures of support posted on fences and in windows on my journey to and from work. Below are a few of the many on my routes.
Cycling distance: Like many others, my distance has been (for me anyway) prolific. In June I completed 954km/593miles which my highest monthly figure ever. It should really be no surprise about my petrol expenditure as I have only driven to work once since lock down. And that was only to put the 29er in the back of the van for an emergency LBS visit after a mechanical shortly after starting a commute to work. It wasn’t a conscious decision to do more as I was required to work but I was keen to enjoy the emptier roads even though there were still idiots about lazily piloting their metal boxes in a diluted rush hour.
Thankfully the weather has been acceptable to ride in and have only missed one day on the bike in the last 3 months due to enforced iso while we waited for Mrs B2Ws swab results. All of this means that I am just over 2,500 miles for the year and with the same recent average weekly distances should get to twice that by the end of the year barring injury. Having only achieved that once before in the last 6 years, I am excited and happy with the consequence of there being no cricket to rob me of the time to do it.
Air quality: the picture below of the London skyline says it all. I don’t notice it as much as perhaps the Londoners do/did but the quieter roads when I got my timing right for the commutes was good while it lasted. No doubt things will return back to where we were but what this thing has forced us to look at is how we can work differently without joining the daily trudge to work in a car. Agility in working remotely where possible has become acceptable, particularly in my job which is pretty hands on. Whereas 6 months ago it may have been frowned upon, now we are actively encouraged to look at 1 day per week. I sense a little more political will to address problems relating to pollution with the pop up cycle lanes in cities starting to appear. I hope that we see more incentives and capital infrastructure to get people thinking about whether they do actually need to take the car to work or up to the shops.
I will no longer have the time to write as regularly due to growing work pressures so from now I mostly just plan to stick with describing my bike commutes. Thanks for putting up with my ranting. I know it can’t have been easy.
Total UK deaths: 43,730 (155)