Saturday, 26 September 2009

Old bikes

Above: not a bicycle.

I have few memories of cycling.

Two bikes lay abandoned in the rooftop conservatory of our building in Hong Kong.
They were rusty, flat-tyred, and scraped angrily against my skin when I fell over. I was determined to learn. I went round and round the limited space, sweating in the heavy, hot air, deafened and awed, looking up at the belly of the planes that thundered, so close, down into nearby Kai Tak airport.

Indian summer in DC, wobbling along the Potomac canal. Control? Balance? Ha. I scraped through thorn bushes, cursing the road, the twigs, the bike, anything. Then later, feeling smug, the fresh flush of confidence spreading gaily across my cheeks, letting my attention slip, and falling straight into the canal. The bike was fished out, but the November air went right through my wet clothing. and my pride was bruised.

Angkor adventure. The monsoon rain was strong and refreshing. We laughed like the maniacal, demented harpies we were, elated from our death-defying ride through the thick Siem Reap traffic. Monkeys skipped along the road. We sped along the tracks between temples, waiting for the next glimpse of grey stone between the trees, feeling quiet, and alone, for the first time in weeks.

Now, finally, scarily, I have my very own first bicycle. I'm ready for more memories.

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