Having a bike as my only mode of transport is sometimes awkward and often a pain in the backside. But when I was forced to make a trip to central London to cover two press conferences I revelled in having the perfect tool for the job.
The first conference was in Covent Garden in the morning, with the next one two-and-a-half miles away one in Finsbury Square.
Having made my way though the tailbacks on the M11 I hit the City, sliced my way through my old rat runs to the Strand. I turned left into Drury Lane, checked the map and spotted a Solo Motorcycles Only bay. Perfect. I smugly popped the Sprint ST in the space and headed for the days’s first conference.
When I returned to my bike to make my way to my next appointment I spotted someone’s rubbish on my bike – oh, it’s a parking ticket… there must have been some kind of mistake. I’m parked in a legitimate motorcycle area with clear signs that say – oh, phone this number and pay a pound to park. Damn.
I was livid. I felt cheated. I’d failed my streetwise exam at the first hurdle.
I’ve never even thought about paying for parking on a bike, but I know that this is nothing new for those of you who ride in London.
The “No to Bike Parking Tax” campaign has demonstrated against parking charges by blockading Westminster City Council and organising slow rides through the capital. Their website, www.notobikeparkingfees.com, provides useful information about how to avoid paying fines whenever possible.
I wish I’d looked before ringing up, swallowing humble pie and parting with £40.
And the final insult? The telephone number and the Pay on Our Website function didn’t work. Bah, humbug.