Great start at 7.45 - radio on (the feel good People Everyday by Arrested Development), the sun breaking through the early morning haze, but 100 yards and 10 seconds down College Road, the first queue.

7.52. Channel hop for traffic news. According to Capital Radio's Flying Eye, a car has flipped over on the M25 causing all sorts of bother near junction 25. Thanks for that, Russ, now what about this small jam I'm stuck in here in Herne Hill?

But Railton Road is clear apart from the odd skip (yes, with a mattress on top), which requires a deft swerve into the path of the oncoming traffic to avoid.

8.00. Beep, beep, beep, beeeep . . . it's the news: America's most prolific serial killer is put down; British ex-pats escaping Yemen moan about Foreign Office tardiness in fishing them out; a long line of brake lights up Brixton Road.

Swing off into Hillyard Street, cut up Hackford Road and down South Island Place before rejoining Brixton Road. Nudge out to coax someone into letting me in. An XR3i is not having any of that. A little bit further and, whoosh, a big black blur as a taxi steaming up the bus lane nearly removes my front wing. Does the Knowledge, I wonder, extend to manners?

Nice man in a turquoise Mondeo lets me in. Foot down, lights red. Before I can read 'Tories leave door open. . .' in the paper, they turn green (the lights, that is).

8.07. Slow into Kennington Road. Cyclists belting up the inside. Wish I was on a bike. Bus lane looks tempting. More bikes go past - racing, mountain and jalopy types with baskets. Police stop a man opposite Walcot Drive for using the bus lane. Bloody disgrace. Finally reach the lights, where a bus pulls away engulfing a cyclist in a large black cloud of diesel fumes. Glad I'm not on a bike.

Into York Road, and the driver of a Hoppa bus has chosen the inside lane for his coffee break, reducing the dual-carriageway's capability by exactly one half. Smart thinking, matey. A man in a business suit and a blue Crombie shoots by on a moped. Now that's a sensible idea (the moped, not the Crombie).

Commuters stream out of Waterloo station. No one smiling. Then again they have not just heard about the thief tracked down by Bedfordshire police after they found his finger in a pool of blood underneath the safe he had dropped while trying to escape. 'What a muppet,' says Steve Wright.

8.16. Kingsway. Coaches to be banned from using the fast lanes, says a transport minister. How about banning them from central London?

An Astramax van has just cut me up in Russell Square. A polite hoot to remind the 'driver' to read the Highway Code when he gets home and what do I get in return? The finger. That's nice. Restore a couple of pedestrians' faith in London traffic by allowing them to use a zebra crossing.

'I-y-aaaahhh love everyday people.' The first song of the day always sticks in your mind. Thank God, it wasn't Michael Bolton.

Torrington Place lumpy so up Gordon Street and over Euston Road to escape W1. That light was amber, officer. For the final assault on Kenwood, a quick limber up through Primrose Hill. Anything to avoid Camden where the drab colours - black clothes, brown bread - are frankly a bit depressing. Nearly taken out on St Mark's Crescent by a Volvo estate reversing into the road. Another


8.35. Approaching schooltime. Which means the four-wheel drive Jeep brigade will be out in force around Hampstead. Opt for Frognal Lane and the countless narrow vistas that skirt the village. Avoid most of the traffic, the exception being a green Peugeot 205's wing mirror. Emerge with the sun at the the head of the Heath.

8.45. Arrive Kenwood. No major jams or gridlocks, Fourteen-and-a-half miles in one hour. And that was a good day.

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