January 21, 2013
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It surprises me that people are surprised when I choose to make journeys the easier and cheaper way.
Take today for example.
I needed to be in London for a meeting starting at lunchtime that will finish at lunchtime tomorrow. So I need to get to London with overnight stuff, my laptop and a stack of A4 paperwork.
To me the obvious option is to cycle to Leicester Station (5.4miles), get on the train with my bike and then cycle from St Pancras to the meeting (at Methodist Church House on Marylebone Street).
This is cheap (train tickets £40, cycle expenses at 20p per mile will be £3.04) and I don’t have to carry the heavy stuff at all. Driving would have cost the Church £96 at 45p per mile plus the cost of overnight parking (dread to think how much that would be around here)
It is also fast. Google Maps currently estimates 107 miles and 1 hours 57 minutes to drive (and that is ignoring traffic and the effects of snow. More importantly it also ignores parking). My journey took me 34 minutes to ride to the station (much slower than normal due to the snow), 1 hour 15 minutes on the train (where I was able to work) and 16 minutes from inside St Pancras Station to inside Methodist Church House. That is 8 minutes slower than a drive that does not allow for parking, getting from the parking place to the meeting or a stop for a coffee on the way.
If I had driven I could have saved the Church some money over driving alone by giving a colleague in South Leicester a lift. But using the train for two of us is still cheaper even without the car parking. However, I am allowed to charge an extra mileage rate if I give someone a lift so in fact the economics probably require 4 people to share a car to be cheaper than the train. As there are only 2 of us coming from Leicester that isn’t going to work out.
Our next meeting in April isn’t in London but High Wycombe, Bucks. I’ll be looking at cycling to that as it is under 100 miles, by cycling I can save money even with an overnight stay (assuming I am unwilling to hand around for 6 hours after the meeting to get the very cheapest rail ticket).