Whatever you do, do not call me a fair weather rider. I’ll ride in rain and I’ll rain in snow and sometimes I’ll even enjoy it, but fog, I have little love for that. Perhaps it’s because I wear glasses. Perhaps.
Wheeling my bike out of the garage on a dark winter morning and I turn on my lights. Like the shades of moths, droplets of moisture dance through the beam. The street, the village, the country, all are still and silent. The fog drains the life out of all it covers; a blanket over a dead land.
Onto the open road, familiar features are gone and I ride through a monochrome landscape of limited dimensions. I imagine myself as a dark, blurred figure cocooned in a soft glowing sphere, the front half white and the rear red. My senses struggle against the poverty of damp stimuli; my mind begins to drift with fanciful imaginings. Onto the tracks and my tyres make a muted crunch on the gravel. Ahead the fog bears hints of a putrid sodium glow. Jurassic strays stalk through the hedgerows, their backs bent by a forgotten wind.
It feels like I have been riding for an age and I have passed into limbo, but the alarm call of a bird snaps my senses to attention. Fretful bird, what does it fear? Is it me or does some malevolent life slink through the mists?
A pin prick of light approaches. The glow grows closer and is joined by a sound. Clack, clack, clack. It penetrates the awful murk with a suggestion of company, solid syllabic chunks of sound edifying to my ears. The figure draws closer, the swaying gait and laboured pedalling, the bobbing head of a man I recognise. A regular commuter, we always say hello, though I do not know his name. Closer still and his features become clear. Faded tights, thin and loose, flutter around his calves and press against his bony knees. Matt black hands grip the rusted handlebar. They extend from his hi-vis jacket, dulled to an anaemic lemon. And the head, the frightful head. A glowing cranium, a naked skull, speaking clack, clack, clack.