Blog posts are the new London buses: if you’re still using them when you’re 30, you’ve failed at life… I mean, you wait ages for one, then 3 come along at once. For the record, anyone reading this abroad or in the future, there is a strong blizzard in Belfast today (22nd March). My last student for the day went home early, and the bike shop is closing early so I don’t need to go anywhere this evening. Time to catch up. I could save these posts and stagger them out, but I’ll forget. If you’re similarly cooped up, maybe you’ll have the time to read them all… they’re short by my standards!
Today was my last day as Cycle Send It. For nearly 4 years, I was Belfast’s only bike courier. In symbolic fashion, I had 4 deliveries on my last day, and if you are one for signs, the brutal weather seems like a cosmic seal of approval on the decision. I read random auspicion into events out of novelty, rather than belief, but it categorically makes parting easier when you spend 2 hours getting 40mph graupel in the face.
The business that started as a last resort, probably broke even over it’s life. This means I profited in stories and experience only. Having found two part-time jobs, I was going to pack it in after 6 months, but ended up investing in a project to try and change how bike couriers might work, and create a mini franchise around my awesome brand. This would seemingly be quick, so I sat on promotion until my big reveal would be ready. There was earnest reason for first delays, but a second association dragged out inconceivably and terribly to no actual progression. Any remaining enthusiasm had been sucked out of me. I could have picked up the traditional promotional drive, even in late hindsight, but a crossroads had been reached.
I enjoy my other jobs, and have been offered more and more work. It’s still not stable or guaranteed, but there is greater return and I will have more time. That’s plenty good enough for me. The past 6 months I have been working 6 days and 5 nights a week. I did 18 months of 7 day weeks. You take time where you can get it, but try getting cover for a bike courier job and arrange time off 2 other jobs at the same time… nightmare.
Anyway, I’m away to Scotland from Sunday to Wednesday. I’m going to recce the West Highland Way. Moving fast and bivvying for 3 nights, it is a training trip, but will serve a nice transition as I move away from a substantial part of my recent life. The conditions will be positively winter-esque so I cannot travel as light as I hoped. I will have about 9kg once I fill a water bottle and pack some food. Lots of insulation, plus goggles and an ice-axe for any severe conditions. As horrible as Belfast is at the minute, the forecast is for Scotland to be colder and less windy. This is good: better to have crisp, frozen conditions than wet, just-above-freezing conditions that render all gear soggy and miserable. There’s a chance it will be marvelous.
Spot the folding cup… and the Glenfiddich 12yr 😉