Day 75 of 80 — Ghost Bikes

Around London in 80 days

In these uncertain times, I need a lifeline and a horizon so I  have — somewhat arbitrarily I’ll admit — set a date. April 1st will be  my horizon ; my lifeline will be the 80 days separating me from it.
And as I cannot go around the world right now, I give you A Mad Belgian’s “Around London in 80 Days” : eighty impressions of London, eighty stories, places, thoughts from my experience of this wonderfully mad and maddening city.

Day 75: Ghost bikes

On street corners, in various of places in London, I spot white bikes. Sometimes, a bunch of flowers lays by their side.

These white bikes have a story. Each of them marks the spot of a cyclist’s death. Like ghosts, they remind us of those lost cyclists and of life’s fragility.

I always see them, everywhere I go: they spring to sight as if they’d been highlighted. Every time I spot one, I spend a moment thinking about the missing cyclist. Who was he/she? Was he/she old? Young? Hipsterish? Old-fashioned? Friendly? Obnoxious? Reckless, or merely unlucky?

The ghostly presence of those bikes is both sad and strangely poetic. The lost cyclists are being remembered by their town… and by me, as I cycle through the city a little more carefully.

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