My car passed its MOT, requiring only a change of oil, brake fluid and washer water. No nasty surprises or anything. I took it in at 10am, and it was ready at 4pm. Much better than when I lived in the Lake District and it could take three days before the bloke even bothered to look at it.
The front tyres will need replacing at some point, as will the exhaust system. The large thing in the image is the rear silencer on my car. It’s a metal box approximately the size of a shoebox. The large flake of rust is about the size of a credit card. Other, smaller bits of rust fell off when I gave the whole thing a prod with my carkeys.
And yet it passed the MOT, with the advisory notice that the rear exhaust system has corrosion.
Taking my car in was easy, I dropped it off and planned to catch the bus home. I first had to stop at the post office to collect a parcel (which turned out to be my printed and bound copy of the Apple Obective-C programming language). I didn’t really know when the busses were leaving to go to my house, so I ambled through town towards the bus station, into the station and straight onto the bus as it was about to leave.
Getting back to my car was slightly less relaxing. I had planned to just get the bus back in again, but when the garage rang at 4pm to tell me the car was ready they also said they shut at 5pm, not 6pm like they’d told me before. Great, an hour to get to the garage by public transport. Not possible, the next bus wasn’t until 4:45pm. I had two options – wait until tomorrow, or bike it.
I dragged my bike out the cellar, reinflated the tyres, reattached the brakes, gave the rear gear changer a kick and hurtled off at warp 9. I had half an hour to cycle through busy rush hour traffic in a journey that takes 15 minutes by car. And I made it too, in 14 minutes. In rush hour, bikes are quicker than cars. Cars make handy shields when going around roundabouts too, as I successfully negotiated the big, busy roundabout in town without ending up under someone’s car. It took longer to fold the thing up and secure it in the back of my car.
I think I’ll be making a trip to the bike shop soon though. I need a new back wheel, a total replacement of my brake system from the cables right down to the mechanisms and blocks, the rear gear changer needs soaking in de-greaser and probably stripping, and I think the front forks are loose. It’s so good that bikes don’t need MOTs like cars do, mine would probably be classed as dangerous and not given back to me. I need a new bike helmet too. The frame is OK though.
I need to get out and do more cycling, the steep hill between me and town was a bit too steep and I had to stop part way up it for a rest, which was a bit crap. I used to cycle up much steeper things daily in previous jobs, and I think that’s the point really. It didn’t help that my bike got stuck in a fairly high gear either.
There’s something very satisfying about cycling to a place though. The speed I cycle at has a direct relation to how quickly I get to my destination. There are no variables beyond my control that would otherwise slow down a car journey. Traffic lights don’t apply – you can get off and use the crossings (or ignore them and slip through if you want to be naughty), and empty pavements are handy too.