This re-blog (minus the usual format as there is no actual re-blog button there, however the necessary permissions have been acquired) comes courtesy of Museworthy Man over at Something Museworthy. Before reading the post however, I highly recommend clicking through to his ‘about’ page here:
It’s a treat. Acrobatic in nature. Agile. I have perused many intros to blogs – most do the job, some raise a smile, and once in a blue moon on Jupiter something quite unique pops up. This is one of those occasions. Without doubt, this wins the award for the finest ‘About’ I have read to date. (sonmicloud ducks to avoid the volley of rotten vegetables hurled by all her other followers.)
As is ever the case with items upon this Cloud…. it is not for everyone. The best things in this dimension are often those that skip to a different clang of the frying pan smashed upon the head, be they performer, or audience member. A link to the original post lies at the bottom of the page.
The Night Rider…
So, the whim takes me with a well stuffed stomach and the guilt of having been the one who gluttonously stuffed it–out into the moonless night. A warm moonless night in October, could well have been a summer evening had the skies not been so cloaked by hefty clouds and a long ago set sun. Stay a while in that scene then come back to the pavement; down a kerb and witness the bump of light machinery at one now with the road. I’m on a black bike in black garb on unlit streets. The invisibility, my stealthiness would be enjoyed but for a sense of self preservation that sees that black garb piped with straw thin reflective stripes. The bike too, it’s spokes shrouded in reflective sheaths; handlebars and seat stem affixed with lights a flashing. Oh, and tyre rims painted too with the finest single striation of paint that shouts back at any light shone upon it.
The destination: Unknown. Driven by pedalling legs and random choices. The first of the latter is the decision to ride past my old home, a mile as the crow flies, a mile a and a bit as the cycle shallowly snakes. The tracks of bikes tyres I’ve observed, never run true, like some pissed road painter has created an artwork in mono of the world’s longest, thinnest snakes a shagging. This observation made in daylight on (other rides) when puddles play the part of the paint tin. I’m off track………I’m now back. My old house, new gutters, a light blazing from most rooms, windows open to attest the night’s warmth or to vent the cannabis its tenants smoke–I don’t know. I pass, pang a moment for the past and dogleg into the council estate that’s forever backed my old abode. More houses, more unblinkered lights, more pot smokers I presume and my Aunt’s old house too, its drive occupied and filled completely with a motorhome that’s backed to within an inch of the wall and the property’s border.
A random choice from there puts a little flesh on the notion of destination. I’ll head for the canal I decide and see what’s presented thereafter. A tow path dark and overgrown has invited, nay challenged me to run its course. And not one to shy from such a self-set challenge I ride on and scoop up an imagined gauntlet as I do. Two bridges’ undersides I pass–underpasses pitch black–the faith that there is indeed a path to pedal on is truly blind. A masochistic excitement experienced as a notion of being swallowed whole by a hole in the world fills my own little world. The tyres smooth out what measure of hesitance there was and relief replaces the excitement. The scenery soon returns to dim, oh so dim an overgrown route I ride. A shade more confidence here as the features that line the way seem to mark it with their silhouettes. The battery light at the fore casts too weak a glow though to be effective and I’m caught on the arms occasionally by tall nettles that lean into the path wanting to pat and impart their venom onto a…I won’t say passing victim.
The destination more fleshed now, in fact fully fleshed, I’m going to Media City. The tow path is running out of range and soon to the past. A final bridge for this stretch at least, this time to travel over. The bike so poorly geared I have to alight. Light machinery, hmmpf, and I didn’t have the power to power over the ramp. I grumble to myself as I amble up, then stand a moment amongst the cast iron triangles whose rivets hold themselves and suspend the walkway. A memory visits, an unpleasant one – that I’d like to cast to the canal below. So I do; My mind’s eye sees it splash, its negativity borne on the ripples is stretched and dissipated. I remount and ride on-spiritually bad this place I sense.
Media City’s my aim and it’s to be gotten to by way of a large industrial estate. Fat roads feed all the units here and ease the wheels of industry by day. But these roads are mine tonight; Sunday evenings pass no traffic at all over them, the traffic lights I openly flout control nothing. Or so I believe, I pass through reds assuming no-one is watching; not even the dead cat I’m loathed to notice. Ginger fur exaggerated by the sodium streetlights, an awkward bundle of orange on the tarmac; freshly killed this cat, its spine contorted in a curve that points its over-glazed eyes my way. Was it straying in the road with the same assumption? That the world was its own? That it was safe in its shell of ignorance? Was the driver of whatever killed it speeding through loaded with the same assumptions? Fodder for the mind of the mortal methinks.
Two roundabouts later, all highway regulations adhered to, I pull the front wheel across the car park of the Imperial War Museum. Myself and the back wheel, we follow on, threading through an open gate wide enough for ourselves and no more. Another bridge now presents, bigger, grander, illuminated and on show. Steadfast where it straddles the quays to Media City. Illuminated with colours, both the bridge and the buildings, all lights artfully, deliberately placed to invoke splendour and draw attention to architectural detail. This newly built place is a hive that’s very alive, news-feeds I imagine zipping in on cables and pulsing down from satellites all to be organised by news teams and redistributed to the world. A twenty four hour operation with little lull at night time.
The bridge, again, primarily a walkway, the biggest vehicle allowed to trace its span is a bicycle I’m sure. So I pedal across, no stress in negotiating its slope this time, the gradient is gentle and my gears go unmolested. One moment of contrast when I roll across a large steel plate that loosely takes up the slack between bridge and land. The night’s quiet is broken as it tolls my arrival. Echoes ricochet then fade, I ride in the noiseless night once more, the hustle upstairs in the buildings silenced by the sheet glass that holds it.
Block paving, likely a million flush cobbles run below me en route to my favourite bench. Restaurants passed, their patrons; jet set media types unwinding outdoors on chrome chairs at chrome tables with a meal in this weirdly warm autumn air. I pass them, a tram stop and a modern theatre too to find my spot. I park the bike, flick off the lights and sit overlooking the quays. A flock of seagulls waft overhead, a couple of hundred feet in the air I’d guess and forty feet of theirs I’d guess. Yes, twenty or so of them on a journey to somewhere; their plumage bright on their underbellies from the electric lights below. That somewhere is the direction from whence I came.
My stomach’s not so stuffed now, I’ll take this constitutional, then follow them home.
Link to the original post – http://theoldboysnetwork.com/wp/the-night-rider/