Early morning. Grey. Wet. The decision to Tube or cycle has been a hard one, but I open the door and wheel my bike out in to the rain. The thin curtain of drizzle lifts and falls with the wind, a spattering of wet applause for my efforts.
The tyres cut thin gulley’s in to the sitting water. They fill quickly, following behind the bike like the churning wake of a ship. A fountain of spray leaps up. My hightops are going to be fucking ruined.
I cycle alongside Hyde Park. I cycle down Wigmore Street. I cycle across Regent Street.
The water soaks through my shorts, it slips down my neck, damp and unpleasant but not cold. My legs pump and my lungs pump and the only part of me that starts to chill are the knuckles of my hands.
I fall in behind other cyclists, two or three who wear florescent jackets and waterproof covers over their rucksacks. We all wear helmets, we all have drop handle bars. No Boris Bikes today, no suited financiers sitting straight backed and pretty, trousers tucked in to socks, satchels across handlebars.
The lights ahead turn red and the brakes squeak when I squeeze them. The traffic slows and stops, compressing like a spring. We weave between buses and black cabs, emerging at the front of the traffic like cockroaches emerging from cracks in the wall when the light is turned off. I hear Pacino in my head. ‘fugking cogaroach . . . I burry those cogaroaches’.
I don’t wear florescent clothing, I don’t have clip in shoes.
Another set of traffic lights.
A dirty warm guff of exhaust pumps in to my face. The side vent of the bus I’ve somehow found myself at the back of. The engine grumbles, then roars, the driver accelerates. A final ugly breath of fumes and I fall back, the bus pulls away. A few minutes later I see it ahead of us , the indicator flicking. We look ahead for potholes in the centre of the road, we look left to see that the bus is still stationary, we look right at the second lane, cars overtaking us, taxis shooting past. Tweak of the handle bars, close in on the centre of the road, black and white marking, one single line, at the last moment a taxi slows behind us, waiting. We overtake the bus, the taxi overtakes us, another bus is ahead of us, another taxi behind us, constant leap frog.
Left, right, straight, left, left, curve to the right, straight again.
The garage door rattles as it rises, sower in the rain than it does in the sun. I duck under before it reaches head height. Already two wet weaving lines are drawn on the concrete floor. My own weaving lines draw a path straight to my lock up.
The shower I normally use it taken.
My hands sting lightly under the warm, low pressure rain.
I’m wide awake.