Date: Thursday 21st May, 2015
Distance: 46.7km | Elevation: 251m
Destinations: New Cross – Grand Union Canal – Heathrow Airport
Start kms: 3,290.6km | Finish kms: 3,337.3km | % complete: 33.3%
When does saving time and money become a false economy?
When you end up late and out of pocket.
In planning a week-long road trip that would take my fiancee, Ashley, and I from London, up to Scotland and back down to Somerset, I’d managed to save myself around £100 by choosing to hire my car from Heathrow Airport rather than somewhere more central (and therefore infinitely more accessible – a detail that will become pertinent momentarily).
However, that cost saving would translate to a substantial outlay of time on trains, tubes and buses – or at least it might have.
An early start and a two-hour cycle would see me avoiding any travel costs, negating the need to drag several bags around Londons transport network, allow Ashley to stay at home and make some last-minute preparations and give me a chance to get in some much-needed kilometres ahead of 10 days off the bike.
So a plan was hatched: an early morning cycle to Heathrow, pick up the car, throw my bike in the boot, drive back via the house, load up and be on our way to Scotland by 11am whilst saving a cool amount of cash.
That’s what should have happened.
I did get out early.
I did cycle the 46km from New Cross to Heathrow Airport.
I did make good time.
What I didn’t do is pack my wallet or any form of photo identification.
Which meant I couldn’t pick up the car.
So Ashley couldn’t stay at home to do any last-minute preparation.
Because she had to get in a taxi and drive to Heathrow quick-sharp to clean-up my mess.
And that transformed a cool saving into a painful (and larger) expense.
A 2-hour delay as a result of the wait acted as a liberal dosing of salt to a very open wound.
We made it to Scotland, but not before I was forced to coyly sit in a Sixt Car Rental foyer, clad head to toe in lycra for 120 red-faced minutes whilst reflecting on my actions and working my way through a banana and a protein shake (both of which I had remembered to pack).
This truly was the royalest of fuck-ups.