After five weeks of flatlining in stark relief of the big city biorhythms, my re-insertion into the matrix was about as blackly amusing as a coach crash of estate agents*. And my play at infusing each commute with a Buddha like sanguine ‘bring it down brother’ lasted all of about ten seconds. You see, I was completely up for finding my inner child until a BMW attempted to remove my inner spleen.
By the time realisation has dawned that bikes are nothing more than urban grouse to these chinless fuckwits, any semblance of remaining calm was swept away as a knee socked, short jeaned, surely ironic messenger type whistled past with his one fixed gear and look of benign constipation. I chased him down, marked my victory with an underarm spit, barnstormed a dithering taxi before heading into the mean streets of central London.
A bendy-bus attempted decapitation, a motorbike introduced a new nano-measurement as he swept past my front wheel, a multitude of dumbfuck cyclists broke ever rule in the book and every second motorist attempted a citizen’s cull to effect swift justice. I chased a second fakinger-clone – my pursuit stalled by two red lights he ignored and a one sided argument with a white van who was mainlining traffic cockage. So knackered was I when finally straining past his sartorial stupidly, I was aerobically incapable of unleashing the carefully concocted vitriol.
Arriving at work, I was cynically unmoved by the carnage in the bike cage and the theft of my shower gel. But the firm never fails to surprise and disappoint when attempting to deliver marketing by the lowest cost bidder. Our new cycle facilities involve carrying the bike down two floors of metal steps, before collecting our clothing from a locker separated from the shower facilities by a sweaty trudge across the atrium of a spanking new building designed to impress our clients.
And then tramp back in work clothes but carrying grungy ride kit to be dispatched back to the lower floor locker. Sounds complicated? It’s even worse in operation – I asked for a map and some written instructions. And while the provision of a daily fresh towel, a shower in an environment entirely free from water borne diseases and a choice of complementary grooming products are to be applauded, such platitudes would have be delivered from a hospital bed.
Because the stairs leading from the loading dock down to the bike area are made of smooth, shiny metal. There is only a single possible result from an interface of damp shoe cleats and frictionless metal. And that is a fast, arse based descent with optional windmilling arms, finishing brokenly slammed against the back wall with a bike on your head.
Unless you ride down them which the preppy gym wrangler reckoned wasn’t possible, And for a few anxious moments – half way down – I was becoming persuaded to his viewpoint. It was all a bit eyeballs on stalks, fillings on edge and sphincter on full recoil during an unhappy period when flinging myself headlong into the rail was the only ‘innovative life saving move’ being offered up.
Still I am pretty sure it was with some aplomb that I shakingly unclipped and nonchalantly declared “Fucking hell, that nearly killed me – you want someone to have a look at those“
A little belatedly the security guard de-hutted himself and was angrily, adamant that no employee was allowed to ride down the stairs. How wrong he was. I think with careful planning an illegal plunge down the stairs, followed by a naked stroll across the atrium could end my career in two single steps.
* If a bevy of solicitors were journeying with them, all the better. Not that I am bitter or anything.