Welcome to your commute. The local time is 06:40, the outside temperature is a chilly ten degrees and our arrival time is expected to be 09:05 unless someone succeeds in killing you first.
Back off holiday, back to playing with the desperate traffic, back to maximum concentration and minimum road sense. Whiffing of the closet masochist, I’d been looking forward to joining the battle and – as expected – the grimy jewel of our capital city didn’t disappoint.
First up Seymour drive closed again for reasons closely aligned to “because we can and do I honestly give off the slightest impression of giving a fuck?”. Well fuck you right back, couple of hard lefts stretching aching legs past lines of stationary traffic before crafting a cheeky move with slightly more pavement than the highway code advocates. From the frustrated horn section behind me, I’ll have to upgrade that to properly cheeky.
Love it. Love it. Love it.
Summer sun burns off the cloud and I burn off down a down a festival constrained funnel of Hyde Park. Facing tourists adjusting focal lengths by stepping blithely into my path, I begin with a pathetic dinging of my bell and finish by leaving a carbon bar end burn on their arse. Keeping it real there Mr. Livingstone, let’s do lunch.
Only by engaging “Colin McCrae” Sega Rally Mode can progress me made through the random perambulation of squeezed humanity on an ever thinning track. Elbows out, Bar ends to the fore again and an expression that politely but firmly expresses the dangerous truth that you are nothing more than mobile slalom in the path of my morning coffee.
Ride on in the sunshine, break a few more rules, bait lycra roadies and attempt to perfect clipped in trackstands before flipping the security guard a flash of my pass and a hidden finger. Dump the bike and hunt down the dripping bacon breakfast of champions. Not bad for a Monday morning, not bad at all.
The end of the day starts with beer which instantly imbues bravery as per the law of lager armour. Bravery instantly tested by a taxi attempting to save ten seconds by smashing me into small body parts using the curb as a mallet. Survival instinct kicks in and he’s almost as surprised as me to find a beery mountain biker hanging onto his passenger door.
As our six wheeled carriage wobbles down the Strand, I breathlessly explain to him to and his “O” mouth shaped fare that if he doesn’t cease and desist RIGHT NOW, I shall be punching my way out through the drivers side window.
He fucked off quite pissed off although I hope he didn’t think, even for a moment, that I gave a shit. Believing myself indestructible, a ¾ circuit of Hyde Park Corner will live long in the memory filed under mnemonic “Go, GO, Oh Shit, Oh Shot OH SHIT, switch lanes – DON’T LOOK – safe, don’t you DARE come over here, sprint, spring, looked fucking amber to me, sprint, breathe”
Fantastically, London wasn’t done delighting me today. I cruised up about half a mile of 150MPH executive cars travelling at approximately zero due to aforementioned coned off streets. I cannot bequeath them the names of roadworks because the second half of that word was conspicuously missing.
Anyway I counted about half a million pounds worth of leather clad car park before my mental arithmetic was exhausted. The worlds’ most expensive queue began to snarl slowly forwards as the lights changed but I had been and gone before they had even reached ramming speed. My delight was raised to a level that I can only term “non Yorkshire” when it became apparent that some brain stunted arse had parked his van on the yellow box and the queue was stationary again despite the green light.
Sometimes commuting is shit – cold, dark, horrid, miserable and dangerous. Today was not one of those days.
* Spookily the first track on a perfectly shuffled riding mix. Is it wrong to like Snow Patrol? Oh I see, I am deeply sorry.