Yesterday, I cycled my usual route to teaching, next to Hyde park – but with a different destination: Oxford Circus. I stopped behind a car at a red light. It was still quite sunny. I was thinking about a route to get where I was going. There was a lot of traffic. I had my foot down, stopped in the left-hand turning lane. A black van was in the lane next to me. The woman driving the car in front got out, she was wearing a smart black suit and heels with an up do. She walked around the front of her car, opened the passenger door, and pulled out from the footwell a nice-looking brown packet. She looked at the traffic light – the light was still red. Then she clicked the buzzer to lock her car, and walked off. I looked around, met eyes with the man in the van next to me and we both chuckled. He started to speak but I didn’t hear what he said, and as the light went green and all the engines clicked into gear, I pushed my way around the parked car and turned left.
I was in Cambridge, I was on a run and hadn’t run that far before, really. I was quite pleased, and enjoying the occasional company of a walker or runner in stride. I was near Fen Ditton, running back towards the centre. I was on a narrow public footpath, alongside the canal. I ran under a low bridge. A large mountain bike was riding towards me, exiting the path under the bridge. I paused. I dodged left, right, and, when he was about a foot away from me, the rider yelled, ‘pick a bloody side!’ and rode sharply past me, taking control of my wavering. I jogged on.