Ron is a man who wants to escape. He needs to free himself from the Monday to Friday monotony, the month by month meltdown. Ron wants to slay the seasonal expectations of the beige brigade. He no longer wishes to mow and dig in the summer, rake and burn in the autumn, DIY to death in the winter and spring into action in the………well – in the spring. No! With a slam of the fist on his kitchen table he wants to be rid of this yearly fail-safe formula. He wants to surf and cycle in the summer, abseil in the autumn, ski and sledge in the winter and skydive in the spring. Ron wants action, he yearns for white-knuckle living. He has a desperation to cut the shackles to what he sees as his very ordinary and banal everyday existence.
Each day reliable Ron awakes at six and automatically conforms to how he thinks the world expects him to behave, never deviating from the well worn path of everydayness. By the world he means his wife and his children – who he loves and adores, his boss – who he doesn’t, his colleagues – who just get on his nerves and the head down, nose to the screen people he passes in the street or on the road. In other words…..everyone. In his head Ron is part of a world he can never live in as he wishes because that would be so unacceptable, go against the grain, be totally out of character. People called Ron would never behave or inhabit a place where they can be themselves. But, hide his comb-over, remove his beige and Ron becomes……well he is not sure who he becomes but it certainly isn’t Ronald B. Grey, resident of a quiet and respectable cul-de-sac on the edge of town, anywhere.
Pyjamas neatly folded, Corn Flakes eaten, a peck on his wife’s cheek and a, ‘see you tonight dear,’ in his monotone voice, Ron shuffles out of the house in the usual stooped and round shouldered, do I really have to do this stance. And then into Ron’s favourite place – the garage of transformation. Ten minutes later and there is no sign of android Ron. Exiting onto the drive is the latest entrant in the ‘Tour de Get To Work In Record Time’. Pushing a sleek, lightweight racing cycle is Ronaldo, a lycra clad, upright and confident athlete. Aerodynamic cycle helmet fastened, ‘wrap around’ sunglasses covering evil eyes, Ronaldo is ready….ready to take no prisoners, ready to be the man he wants to be and ready………to race. No one can see who the man is beneath the disguise but the net-curtain twitching neighbours know enough to stay out of the way for the next few minutes.
A sedate cul-de-sac pace soon becomes that of a speed fiend as soon as Ronaldo gets on to his race track or as the local authority call it – the ‘shared pathway’. To the pedestrians who take their lives into their own hands as soon as they step onto this cycle freeway of madness and mayhem, this certainly is not a shared piece of ever lengthening tarmac by any stretch of the imagination. These walkers have a decision to make – either dice with death by mixing it with Ronaldo and his fellow possessed speed fiends of the freshly laid ‘black top’ or make life a little safer by stepping out onto the ring road with the shiney BMW’s, Fords and Audi’s. But to Ronaldo this is one thing and one thing only, a race track and he is aiming to beat last weeks record time.
Ronaldo glances down at the small computer attached to the handlebars showing the speed, journey time, calories, stocks and shares details and with all this information is able to work out that he is making good time whilst travelling at 25mph. The conditions on this dry Monday morning are good and Ronaldo is confident he will clock a good time. But wait, Ronald sees something in the distance and thinks to himself, ‘a fucking spectator has got onto the track!’ The cyclist puts on an extra burst of speed. The spectator ambling along the track with what looks like headphones on, is totally oblivious to the torpedo that is heading in her direction. Any time now she is going to get the shock of her life when Ronaldo whizzes by. He aims, target in sight, head further down for greater aerodynamic speed and then, wait for it, wait for it, wait……..NOW! A last second swerve, missing the idiot by millimetres. That’ll teach her. Perhaps she will stick to the pavements in future rather than the cycleway. An obscenity follows Ronaldo but is left in his wake as he speeds round the bend and onto the next straight having lost no time at all. The final bend is taken perfectly and Ronaldo is pissed off to see that on checking his on board computer he has missed his record by two minutes and fourteen seconds. He can’t work out where he lost this time but eventually blames the woman with the headphones. He needed to blame someone he thought to himself because it certainly wasn’t down to him.
After clacking across the car park, sweat running down his face, he removes his helmet. The change is starting. Ronaldo can feel metamorphosis happening as he gradually removes his cycle gear. When he enters the changing room Ronaldo sees metamorphosis on a grand scale as a number of cyclists are in different stages of shedding kit. These speedy creatures share notes with regards to each of their journeys. They refer to speeds, conditions, obstacles and what they need to do to improve next time. Ronaldo carefully places his cycling gear into the locker ready for the return journey later on.
Having slunk through the double doors and into the open plan office he is greeted by Deirdre.
‘Morning Ron, what did you think of last night’s Eastenders?’ she asks.
‘Yeah, good.’ he drones. ‘Can’t wait to see what happens tonight.’
Ron, dressed in comfy trousers and a beige cardigan and his comb-over neatly back in place , slouches over to his desk sipping a sweet instant coffee as he goes. He switches on his PC and so begins the daily drudge of facts and figures and reports whilst dreaming about the escape he will make later on.