The Hampstead School Run requires a 4x4, all those potholes! No trip to Hyde Park with all its mountains would be complete without a £3000 Carbon Downhill bike.
I never made the move to the smoke 'full time' as such, always had a toe in the rural, and even when study or work permitted no substantial time away we had a camper and used to sneak out after rush hour into the nearest hills or forests for some country time. Though there were years when the ratio of time spent in each was reversed we are very happy with current 90% rural idyll.
One thing that truly influences your experience of city life is your job situation. I spent years working for agencies which meant I could take time off whenever I liked, so I went and got my snout full of fresh air as often as I felt I needed, and hammered the time sheets intensely to buy that time.
It is also just a thing about getting older.
At 45 I find it hard to get excited about urban cycling, sitting outside cafés in fume choked streets and seeing the crack dealers on the corner and knowing there is not a darn thing I can do about them.
Our time in London is always regimented to avoid the hustle and bustle. We use canals and such to get from A-B where possible and avoid the peak travel and shopping times. Walk up the canal to St. John's Wood for a coffee, and down Edgware Road to Hyde Park via the pub or even a shisha café, (may as well choose something nicer to fill the lungs with than the pollution), a lazy walk around, and if it is late a precarious climb back out by Queensway, in for a snack in one of the nicer restaurants and winding through the streets to Notting Hill for a film at the Coronet, then an amble up Portobello Road to the Star, and if we are feeling frisky on to late night drinks at the brother in laws.
Never done the 9-5 thing in London so I don't relate to the stress of that lifestyle.
The doctor diagnosed me with hereditary diarrhoea. I can't understand, I wear a kilt.