Friday, October 03, 2008

Freewheeling

“Are you ready for a downhill?”

I gripped tightly onto the sides of his jumper, leaned around into the wind and shouted a muffled but delighted yes.

We sped up. My hair whipped out behind me and he begun to whistle that Peter, Bjorn and John tune. The road hurtled by as I grinned into the faces of people stuck in cars in the jam-traffic. Schools and bus stops stood and silently watched I raised my knees further up over the back wheel and started to whistle as well.

About half an hour previously we had been sitting outside a pub in Chorlton, sipping beer in the golden, late afternoon sun.

“Um, I could get the bus and you could cycle?”

He scrunched his nose.

“Not the bus. We could both just walk?”

My turn to scrunch.

“Yeah, but it’s so nice now, and we’re both in such good moods. If we spend an hour walking along roads with you wheeling your bike we’ll be all tired and cross by the time we get home.”

He took a sip of his beer and turned to look at his bike, peering at the writing on the side.

“How much do you weigh?”

I took a sip of mine and shrugged.

“Don’t know in kilograms. Last time I weighed myself I was 8 stone 12.”

I looked at my beer, feeling its familiarity in my hand and thinking back over the last few weeks.

“Might have gone up since then, though.”

Some elaborate calculations later and we were attaching my scarf to the rack, to pad it out and minimize bike-bruising. I swung my leg over the wheel and sat down precariously, feeling the back of the seat press into my ribs and the bars of the rack digging into the soft flesh of my upper thighs. I was wearing his rucksack which, heavy with food, was pulling me backwards. Ben got on the bike and I took hold of the sides of his jumper and lifted my feet off the floor. He turned around.

“You’re not wearing a skirt, are you? Want to go side saddle?”

“No, I’m fine. Anyway, I’m wearing shorts. I’m fine. Go on! Let’s not fall off and die!”

He pushed off and we started down the road. Weaving at first, past a village green, its grass gilded by the dying ember sun, but then faster and stronger. Past little houses and quaint pub, outside of which a man inexplicably told us to fuck off. We did, increasingly steadily. Before long Ben was pedalling confidently and I felt comfortable enough to chat inanely.

“You know” I shouted, leaning round. “You could fit more lady friends on here! Loads! As many as you like!”

“Yeah! Let’s get loads! I want loads!”

I dug him lightly in the ribs, so as not to throw his balance and send us careering into any traffic.

“No, you don’t. You don’t want loads!”

“Oh, yeah, right, no. I don’t want any! No lady friends for me!”

I dug him again, a bit harder.

“No! You want one! Me, remember?”

“Oh yeah. Just one. Just you.”

Satisfied, I leaned back around pressed my cheek against his woollen back.

We whizzed and whooped through busy streets, across lanes of cars and alongside buses that were so close I could have stuck my tongue out and licked them (I didn’t).

Ben swerved past a police van, next to which a couple of policemen were loitering.

“Oi, that bike’s only made for one, mate!” one of them called out, sounding a little bored.

He doesn’t know that, I thought. We could have had it re-vamped.

We sped on, feeling like anarchists.

We wove through streets that were teetering on the brink of Saturday evening. Gin and tonic and the delicious meal Ben was about to cook shimmered on our horizon, and then a Saturday night of dancing that would go on until the sun poked spindly fingers into the sky once again.

“Here we are!”

Ben stood up on the pedals as we swooped into his street and braked by the curb.

“We’ll have to get you a bike when you get here” he said, as we both dismounted.

“Yeah, definitely” I agreed. “Shall we do this anyway, though? Every so often?”

“Yeah” he said, and gave me a kiss. “Let’s.”

He wheeled his bike into the house and I followed, smiling as I closed the door behind me.

16 Comments:

Blogger Badass Geek said...

Beautiful.

12:34 pm

 
Anonymous Paul said...

Yay! Yay yay yay.

2:01 pm

 
Anonymous Chris said...

Bikes. Sigh... I love bikes.
Chris x

3:11 pm

 
Blogger Ys said...

You're very brave ;)

3:13 pm

 
Blogger Léonie said...

BG - Thank you.

Paul - Yeah, totally.

Chris - I know you do! Do you have a nice one over there?

Ys - Oh, no, I just didn't want to walk or get the bus. I was (secretly) scared.

3:50 pm

 
Blogger Wierdo said...

I read that whole post thinking I was reading somebody elses blog (a mans) and thinking it was unusually pretty for him. It got to the skirt bit and just thought he was trying to be funny. The bit about lady friends confused me quite a bit as did the bit with the kiss. I got to your comment and then about 10 seconds later I realised where I was....I really should start reading the road signs....

Lovely post though!

4:24 pm

 
Blogger Léonie said...

Wierdo - living up to your name, then?! Ha, only kidding. Anyway, skirts are funny, so I can see where you'd make the mistake... I like that you admit it! x

4:33 pm

 
Blogger Léonie said...

Wierdo - living up to your name, then?! Ha, only kidding. Anyway, skirts are funny, so I can see where you'd make the mistake... I like that you admit it! x

4:33 pm

 
Blogger Huw said...

Fuck off. I admire some people's ability to be so forthright.

10:43 pm

 
Blogger Pearl said...

Like being there, without the possibility of bruising...

Pearl

11:04 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You were lucky not to be held at gunpoint and detained for 42 days for such a reckless act of terrorism.

4:14 pm

 
Blogger justme said...

Having fun 'ooop north' then by the sound of things....thats great!

10:12 pm

 
Blogger Clarissa said...

You're brave!

And Weirdo made me chuckle too.

10:59 pm

 
Blogger Fishwife said...

I just wanted to thank you for my first comment on my first-ever blog - I have replied to it! I love your blog and was considering not bothering with my own until you posted a comment so thank you very much!x
Also, bikes are far more fun with two...my big brother used to put me on his crossbar when I was little!

4:42 pm

 
Blogger justme said...

I have tagged you for a meme....a nice easy one....pop to my Blog and see, and let me know if you do it

11:29 am

 
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