Wednesday 3 June 2009

Riding to work - returning soon

I know this might sound odd, but I have been working for a company for nearly two years, and until this week, had only visited the office once. I have still not met the guy I am supposed to be working for. I initially did a phone interview with another bloke, who employed me. He has since moved on, and I have never met the new guy.

However, all that is about to change - my current contract is winding down, so I am moving into the company office to work from there on new contracts. Up until now, the company that I work for has simply shipped me out to clients, and I have worked solely from the client premises. Today was a big day - I got a security pass for the company that employs me! A company laptop is also on the way, and I might even get some business cards printed up. Woo-hoo.

I think.

The beauty of being out in the field on my own is that I have been utterly divorced from all the office bullshit, politics and paperwork. I work the hours I want (as I get paid by the hour) and I take on as much or as little work as I feel like doing. Plus I don't get too attached to my place of employment - I do my 6 or 9 months on site, get the job done, have some farewell beers and move on. I am currently working with a bloke who had been sitting in the same cubicle in the same building since 1994. Moving him two cubicles down the corridor a few months back was as wrenching as lopping off a limb. In the six months that I have been there, I have moved cubicles 3 times, and am moving again next week.

Anyway, the place where I am now is not bike friendly, so I have been getting fat and chubby sitting in the car going to and from work. The new place is quite bike friendly - the person I hot-desked next to today rides in, and they gave me the skinny on where to park and shower and where to put the wet towel (they stuffed theirs in behind their monitor - bleah). The setup rates about 5.5/10 - there are no lockers or drying areas, which is a major pain. I am used to keeping 5-6 shirts and one or two suits hanging up at work, rotating all of them through a local drycleaner once a week.

I won't have that luxury - I will have to take a fresh shirt in each day, which means an investment in panniers in order to keep it reasonably unwrinkled on the way in. For the last 4 years, all I have carried in and out each day is socks and jocks - clean one way, laundry the way back. In summer, I simply stuffed them in my rear jersey pocket and did away with a backpack entirely. Travel light, move fast.

Traffic shouldn't be an issue - I have already scoped out the route, and as far as I can tell, it does not involve any scary spots. I'm back in the city, so 90% of the route is the same as I have been riding for years - when get to the CBD, I'll simply turn left instead of going right an head for a different block.

As an aside, I have not had business cards for the better part of a decade, and I've never felt the need for them. I know that might sound odd - who can do business without a business card? - but I've somehow managed to work things so that I can do without them. If you ask me, they are vastly over rated.

Now comes the fun bit - scoping out the local cafes to find the best place to have a post-ride breakfast. There seem to be plenty of good candidates in the area, which is a bonus.

I get the feeling the first few weeks are going to be really tough in a physical sense. When you ride twice a day, 5 days a week, it takes some getting used to. The rides are short and fast, and there is no time for fluffing around in the morning after waking up - you wake up, dress, poo and go. All the niceties of shaving and starting to feel human etc are done once you reach the office. That also takes some adjusting to adapt the body to that sort of cycle. The riding style is completely different to say a 2-4 hour leisurely jaunt on a weekend, starting at 10am. I'll be getting up not long after 6am and riding as soon as the sun starts to look like it is about to appear above the horizon.

In about a month, I will probably really miss the car and all its comforts.

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