HumpDay Quickie #18

Posted: May 7, 2014 in Hump-Day Quickies
Tags: , , ,

The Ghost Cycles of London

by: Karl A Russell

As the late night revellers stagger tubewards, weaving between last busses and first responders and the constant taxi cabs, the Ghost Cycles of London wait.

Nesting in impromptu lamppost memorials, brake lines tangled in bedraggled poseys and poorly laminated photographs, bells ringing softly in the gathering dusk, they wait.

Riderless.

Forgotten.

Twisted steel and shattered carbon skeletons, spinning their gears as a hundred thousand unheeding tourists pass blindly by, they wait.

For darkness.

And silence.

And space.

And then, when the traffic slows and the lights dim, and even that great City slumbers…

They ride.

Taking to the streets, the Ghost Cycles of London have no need of riders, no need of helmets and pads. Those precautions never saved their riders anyway. And even if they did, they never saved them.

But now, things are different.

They have the roads.

They have the right of way.

Tyres slash through neon puddles.

Gears whirr in harmony, startling the pigeons from statuesque roosts.

Friction driven spoke lights glitter in the darkness, trailing jewelled echoes through almost empty streets.

They criss cross the Thames, swing past London’s unseeing Eye. Beneath lighted Shards and glowering Towers the Ghost Cycles make their way from Soho to Shoredith, Wimbledon to Whitechapel, racing the paths of Saucy Jack, Reg and Ronnie, Womble and Borrible alike.

Through Camden they glide, flocking like birds past boozy lock ins, back up to Bloomsbury, pedals spinning as they hurtle past marbled museums, where ancient velocipedes rattle their glass cases and long to join the ride.

On through Trafalgar Square, teasing the great stone lions who grumble in their depthless sleep.

All across the City they ride, reclaiming the streets and bus lanes, the cycle paths and pavements, until the morning sun’s rays pierce their brittle dream shapes, returning them to memory and regret.

Then back to their nests they course, to sleep the day through, breathing deeply of exhaust fumes and dead blooms and temporary remembrances.

They are a rumour and a legend, the Ghost Cycles of London, a myth and a lie, and every year and month by month, their numbers grow.

And grow.

And grow.

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