More vaguely non-smoking related wonderfulness. Cycling to and from work at least once a day now. The hot and sweaty yet freezing fucking cold combo can be more than a little uncomfortable but the thrills and not only spills but frills of a crosstown fixed gear commute are not to be underestimated. The anticipation, the wayward weaving, the very rush of it all. I discover more smoothness and control with every flown by kilometre, but folks, still I lack the skills.
I cannot truly track stand. I can go so slowly as to be almost standing still. I rarely have to unclip at a traffic light. Yet still the backward and forward scooching eludes me. I don't get that much opportunity to practise, is my weak excuse. I need some quality, heavily padded midnight time on the cul de sac, I reckon, where I'm happy to do a whole lot of teeter toppling. I'll get it, I know that I'll get it, I'll totally sort this tricky track stand out.
But there is a whole load of other shit about which I am not nearly so confident. Yesterday, just past the concert hall, I spotted a courier stopped, foot grounded out of strap at a red light. Too late in the day for a showy move, I guessed. Or maybe he can't do a trackstand either, the useless fuck, I mused. Either way, I pissed passed him through a generous gap in the oncoming traffic. Too fast to be sure of the kind of bike he was working, but slow enough to see that it was certainly fixed and that he had incidentally magnificent hair. For dust I left him as I turned towards Charlemont Bridge.
He passed me on Ranelagh Road. I jumped, somewhat irked, into his slipstream. We both sped along for a moment or two before he veered off to the right and performed some of the sweetest, the most effortlessly graceful shit that I've ever seen. Unweighting his back wheel, this street knight stopped pedals and back wheel, using the ensuing skid not to come to a standard and unimpressive stop, but merely as a means of deceleration, before lightly bunny-hopping onto the pavement and resuming his impossibly smooth pedal stroke. I gasped. I gaped. I drew in breath to shout 'You're so fucking cool!' but realised that this in itself would be somewhat uncool, and that I was about to rear end a slow moving Saab. It was a beautiful thing folks, I wish you could have been there to see it, you would have been blown away.
These are the kind of skills, you see, skills that I would possess but doubt that I ever will.