The Bike and Other Stories
Cycling adventures around London, New York City, and Berlin.
Geoffrey Armes
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Geoffrey Armes - 2020-05-29 23:33:48+02:00

The next day I followed the almost stalled traffic around Auerbach behind the small maybe five year old boy and his father exposed to oncoming vehicles around the blind bend. Yes, an astonishing sight, a special trust even here in Berlin, even on the entrance to one of the well known bike and skater car free promenades known to all local drivers.

Father and son speeding down the Krone. Boy about fifteen, dad working on the front. Me, riding parallel, wasn't going to pass up observing this or conceding distance. Easy, right?

At a certain moment I see father and son pull over, ready to go north again. I realise they are doing the same run as I do with my daughter – home to Havelchausee and back. Twenty K, say.

At Schwani I was fast but not as fast as the guy on the Pinarello who snuck up on me on the rise and although I comfortably rode in front again through the circle of houses – Schwani is an island of resplendent villas, some privately owned some institute - well at the bottom we sped, easy spinning but not hanging around and over the bridge by the cobble stones a boy calls, walking with his parents “quicker, quicker” and I hear an amused snort behind me and I raise my arm in jocular salute but I do not gas it anymore as I am comfortably fast and he comes up beside me and laughs “that was fun, as if we weren't already working enough,” but then he does forge ahead for a while, I keep him in view and pass again at the lights, “it's green,” I call in case he hasn't noticed as he greedily swigs but I didn't see him again....

up and away then, the leg holds up, past the two holes, past the gravel turning point car park at Huttenweg where, I feel, one must always watch, sprint the small rise into endspurt territory, yeah some rain but what of it, but it's enough

the city streets are calm, newly washed beaming in the unexpected sun. A young mother pushing the pram is singing “London Bridge is Falling Down,”, and peace has dropped, the mayhem of the road and young lives striving hidden behind shuttered houses and the last drops of evensong light before the darkness envelopes again.