Tag Archives: bicycle

Race You, Part III

Continued from Part II.

Pierre stared, wide-eyed, his own smile growing to match hers. Then he slammed his right foot onto the pedal, shoving it downwards, his left foot gripping and dragging the road into movement beneath his tyres. The back wheel scraped against the road, then the bicycle launched forwards.

Once more he pumped his legs until his ankles became a blur, rotating rings of muscle transforming the bursting chemical power of nature into the mechanical efficiency of the machine. Again, the wind began to pinch against his cheeks, again his shirt began to billow, again he crouched low over the handlebars. No longer the boundless mind wandering into song, now he was focussed, alert, the goal central in his concentration.

The bike picked up more and more speed, his breathing joined the rhythm of the rest of his body, his spine snaked from side to side in rapid motion. The noise of the chain whirring around the gears reached his ears, and then another sound pierced through the canvas of wind and breath and spinning metal.

The banging of a drum.

A rapid and terrifying staccato.

The hooves of a majestic and powerful beast thundering towards him.

Out of the corner of his left eye he saw a large, dark shape loom by his side. He kept his head forward and low, and willed his legs to move even faster, but it was no use.

A beautiful composition of muscle and hide, legs pounding the road, breath hissing and snorting, rider and beast in a dance of speed. The horse drew ahead of him. Pierre gasped his tragedy into the ground. The rider yelled her victory to the skies. The horse ran on.

His legs slowed, then stopped. The bicycle continued to spin, the world whirring underneath, but then it too slowed, soon to a calm, gentle crawl. Then he slapped his feet on the ground and brought his metal steed to a stop. He fell gently sideways, the bicycle clattered to the ground. He lay on his back, pulling and pushing air into and out of his lungs. His head spun.

Minutes passed, then he opened his eyes. Blonde hair fluttered in the air above him. He saw a helmet held loosely between fingers. He saw blue eyes. He saw a triumphant smile.

“My name’s Marie,” she said. “What’s your name?”

The End


Race You, Part II

Continued from Part I.

Pierre gripped the bicycle brakes hard and skidded to a stop, screeching along the road until standstill. He dropped his feet to the ground on either side, and looked forward, pretending not to hear the clop, clop, clop of the horse approaching him.

He looked idly at his fingernails as the horse drew up and came to a stop next to his bicycle. His heart beat loudly in his chest, but whether from the exertion or his impending new acquaintance he knew not.

“Good morning,” said a calm, firm, feminine voice.

“Good morning,” he replied, as neutral as he could muster. He looked up, and his gaze met blue eyes and yes, a delicate nose, framed by smooth skin and a helmet that almost eclipsed the sun. Most of all, a frown. Not a real frown. A frown that hid a smirk, and an amused twitch of the lips.

“Did you like my song?” he asked.

“No,” she said.

“Oh,” he said.

“A gentleman exerting himself fully on a bicycle would not be able to sing,” she explained. “Therefore the song was a signal of underachievement.”

His eyebrows hiked upwards. “I see,” he said. “That sounds very serious indeed. You believe I am capable of more?”

“One should always aim to excel oneself,” she said.

“Do you bet?” he said.

She sniffed, perhaps hiding a chuckle. The horse grunted quietly.

There was a pause. Then a genteel finger extended, pointed down the road, circled like some winged fairy, and returned to the reigns. She took a breath, then let it out in an exaggerated sigh, and Pierre imagined himself floating on top of the sea, drifting in and out with the tide.

Then, at last, a true smile. A smile of challenge.

“Race you,” she said.

To be continued…

Race You, Part I

Pierre pedalled as fast as he could, his legs purring with satisfaction as the road opened up into a long, straight stretch. This road would take him all the way through the town and on to the sports field next to the river beyond.

His bicycle gathered speed. The ticking of the wheels through the gear mechanism became faster and faster. He began to feel the wind against his cheeks. His short, dark hair began to flutter and his smile grew wide.

He laughed out loud, then again, louder. His legs pumped as fast as they could, fingers loosely gripped the handlebars, and he leant low. Then as the road under the tires became a blur, he stopped pedalling. The bicycle carried on, gaining yet more speed from the road’s downward slant.

Joy flooded through Pierre’s veins. He held his feet flat, then pushed down through his legs, lifting his body upwards, standing on the pedals, wind whipping his shirt and exuberance billowing up his throat.

He burst into song, sending loud, deep syllables spiralling outwards in front of him.

“/Free is the man who lives at speed, flying along without care or need, singing the song for his brothers in arms, seeking and praising a young maiden’s charms!/”

Up ahead, a beautiful dark brown horse had pulled onto the road. Pierre saw a rider perched atop, blue jacket tapering at a narrow waist, golden hair flowing down under a black helmet.

Pierre lowered himself back onto the saddle, and pedalled hard again. His bicycle gathered speed once more and he shot past the horse. He turned his head and caught a glimpse of the rider’s smooth skin, and perhaps a delicate nose.

He waved over his shoulder.

She waved back.

To be continued…

Not Always Right

“A dozen eggs, Mr. Sudteen,” said Mrs. Thorndike. She plopped a large basket upon the counter.

“Right away, Mrs. Thorndike,” said Mr. Sudteen. He decided to try charm. “Would that be a baker’s dozen?” Wink.

She bristled. “I have no time for games,” she said, curt tone and furrowed brow. “Mrs. Lutton will be over at three and I need the pie ready. A dozen eggs, right away.”

“Would you like the cheap ones? Only a dozen left.”

“Of course, I always have the cheap ones. Now stop wasting time!” she said.

Mr. Sudteen carefully placed one dozen eggs into her basket. She threw the coins down in front of him and stormed out.

Thorndike harrumphed crossly down the road, lugging the basket along, muttering. She turned the corner and promptly collided with little Jackson from number four, riding too fast on his bicycle. The basket went flying.

“You little ratbag!” she screamed at the hastily fleeing child. “I shall tell your mother!”

Eggs lay all over the road, tiny fragments of shell among yolk that glittered in the sun as it ran between the stones. She grabbed the basket and seethed back to the shop.

Mr. Sudteen!” she yelled. “Another dozen eggs right away!”

“We’ve only got the expensive sort left.”

“Fine!” she spat. “Bring them here!” Many more coins hit the counter.

When she had gone, Sudteen went out the back of his shop. Little Jackson was sitting there on his bicycle. Sudteen tossed him a shilling.