New job, new commute. Love riding in the winter. Roll down Effra Parade and hang a left onto Atlantic Rd. Butcher shops line this street with aproned cleavers chiming a bloody beat like a halal glockenspiel. Slurries of foul smelling crushed ice cling to the gutters from yesterday’s trade. A black and white kitten poses in a grocer’s doorway, his nose to the air – sniffing at the piles of glossy-eyed fish?
Meet some cyclists at the lights outside Argos and roll off together. Cyclists clump together in a similar way a dung beetle collects shit. Tough guy in a Southampton Triathlon jersey squeezes to the front of the dung ball and then can’t get into his clips.
Nice flat run to Oval down Brixton Rd passed the boozer that is also a carwash. Overtake a parked bus and upset a motorcycle. He flicks up his visor.
“One day you will go under a bus and i’ll be there to see it.”
Is he some kind of travelling gypsy throwing out cycling curses?
Navigate the lethal and idiotic cycle lanes at Kennington Park that fracture and reform as they please. another long straight passed the scruffy townhouses that should be posher before arriving at the four lane vortex of death that is Elephant and Castle. Triathlon guy has squeezed to the front again. He dribbles out in front of oncoming traffic while he scratches around on his pedals like a farmyard chook. I shamelessly leave him for dead and run the gauntlet. I take the Borough exit with the obligatory truck pinching the corner and head for the Shard which looms like a neo-pagan obelisk.
Nice slow climb to the apex of London bridge. Feels good to stand in the pedals and leave the nasty mesh of buses behind. The view is masked only by the river of charcoal suits. It’s like March of the Penguins on that bridge.
Hit Bishopsgate. Potholes and suicidal city folk who throw themselves in front of your wheels like bodyguards taking a bullet for the President. RBS clock says 8:53 followed by -1. Cycle couriers edging into the arterial Great Eastern St to get a little head start. I wait for the lights. Dog leg onto Bethnal Green road and rattle my bones on the cobbles of Redchurch. Navigate the 50’s librarian girl sporting horn rims and cherry neck tatt. Think about explaining the one way system in place but makes me feel boring.
Open the door of the packed cafe and feel embarrassed to be wearing Lycra suddenly. I cover my genitals with my bag.