Thursday, 29 July 2010

The worst smells in cycling #2 - Fish & Chips

Friday evening.

Out of work early and determined to ride. If only to keep yourself out of the pub for a couple of hours. This requires focus, mustn’t get sidetracked. You burst through the front door, bag down, shirt off. Two slices of bread in the toaster and fish your bibs out of the washing basket (see #1)

Already your phone is beeping, must ignore. “swifty?” “quick pint?” “you boozing tonight?.” Must ignore.

Quick blast on the track pump and you’re back out of the door with a mouthful of toast. Just a couple of pedal turns and last week is already out of your system. This is invigorating. Friday night and you’re out getting the miles in, nipping through the weekend hometime traffic. Racing out to the hills.

The vinegar hits first followed, seconds later, by the heady aroma of fresh batter. Beef drip batter as well. You’re still 200 yards away and already you can make out every subtle nuance in aroma. The cars abandoned at each side of the road are testament to the fish-fryers art. You feel a pang in your stomach, even your internal organs know that it is Friday night.

All at once your mind races through the logistics. You probably have just enough cash in your saddlebag for a chip butty but no more. Ride to a cash point? You could get the works then; fish, chips, peas and a can of dandelion and burdock. Might as well sit inside for it, don’t want to be sliding around on the tiled floor in your cleats. What then though, you won’t fancy riding home after all that. You could always get one of your mates to pick you up, stick the bike in the back. They could bring you some clothes and drop you straight at the pub, buy them a pint to say thanks.

But it’s too late; your stupid legs have carried you past the danger. The smells recede. You turn your attentions back to the matter at hand. The road ahead of you begins to rise almost imperceptibly.

You feel the first few dots of rain.

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