Monday, May 15, 2006

Chapter Five


The Motobecane was a relic and for a flash William remembered again the reason he was riding it. He reached the gear shift that was archaically attached to the bicycle’s down tube and pushed it forward slightly. The blackened chain rubbed against metal with an insistent click before finding its place in the teeth of the big cog. The air rushed faster through the vents in his helmet and the hairs on his bare forearms shivered in the cool. He began to pedal harder as his trajectory sloped downward, pushing firmly on his quadriceps and pulling with calves and hamstrings taut. Increasing velocity, spokes whipping, a yellow-green blur in the corner of his eyes. His hands ached absorbing the shock of uneven pavement, clenched as they were around handlebars wrapped not with thick cork, but with a single layer of black and red electrical tape. The hill slackened at the bottom and he adjusted his direction riding out of a curve, as though he were coming off the high side of a bowl. He aimed his nose, shoulder, torso, hips and knees toward the bridge. A quick hop brought him over the front lip of the bridge that protruded above the pavement. Teeth rattling, another hop signalled his safe passage across the boards. He imagined breathing a sigh of relief, but the flow of air into his lungs had in fact remained steady: vigorous panting as the renewed incline begin to nullify his effort.


Blogger SilverWanderer said...

Thank you for reminding me vividly of my descent from the top of the Buttertubs (hills in Yorkshire, England) in 1948.
It was a new district to me. Having struggled up a long climb in heavy rain I was relieved to reach the top. Almostly immediately the road dropped and when I tried my brakes I found the rims were so wet that they had no effect. In those days there were very few cars but wearing a cape made it difficult to stay on the winding road. If there had been a car I could not have avoided it.I think the brakes limited my speed but I could not stop until the road had started to climb again about a mile later.
I am 77 now and feel that I was fortunate to cycle in my youth. It kept me from smoking and I only drank occasionally. I feel it contributed to my good health in old age. Thanks again.

5/15/2006 11:18 a.m.  
Blogger Punk is Dead said...

Thanks very much for your kind words and reminiscence. Writing is such a solitary endeavour... it's nice to be reminded once in a while that the results might actually mean something to another person aside from myself.

5/18/2006 11:33 p.m.  

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