Thursday, September 02, 2010

Buffoons on Bicycle


Like two Victorian-era buffoons in a revolving door sketch, these two zigzagged their way down Oxford St. Obviously, it was one's job to Zig and the other's to Zag, one's job to avoid the double-decker buses, the other's to allay the concerns of angry taxi drivers. Evidently, they never agreed who was One and who was the Other (nor who had dibs on the seat).

Of course, this is just one of the many fruits of Transport For London's new bicycle for hire scheme, which has seen bicycle bays installed around most of central London. And it has opened the door not only to these two pork buns, but also to adults who haven't ridden bikes in years.

These people are not just riding bikes, they are riding a wave of irrational self-belief that has engulfed the city centre. They truly put stock in the old adage: you never forget how to ride a bike; well I can tell you, based on observation, most people have. When they launch the bike down the street with the same confidence as they would breaking in a young steer, you know they should be wearing a helmet — but they aren't, because it's not the law here.

The real problem comes when you combine this inexperience with a time limit: these bikes are free for the first 30 minutes, after which you get charged. And so, like a man who must solve a rubix cube before he is permitted to address the ticking time bomb, these people hurtle from point A to point B, not completely sure of what they are doing, but certain they must do it fast. Their eyes are filled with all the wonder of the Road Less Traveled, and all the quiet desperation of the Road To Nowhere. Yes, they are riding the wheel of fortune, and they'd best keep it spinning.

3 comments:

Abbie said...

I wonder how it will be when they open the hire bikes over here, I think much the same way really, only with helmets, hmmm do you hire them too, no thanks.

Anonymous said...

We have all the new bicycle bays (ironically?) clogging our streets, just no bikes yet. Apparently the bikes will come next year. Why don't they just reduce the cost of public transport to something close to reasonable? I can just imagine the kind of schmucks who'll actually opt into hiring here.

Anonymous said...

We have all the new bicycle bays (ironically?) clogging our streets, just no bikes yet. Apparently the bikes will come next year. Why don't they just reduce the cost of public transport to something close to reasonable? I can just imagine the kind of schmucks who'll actually opt into hiring here.