Just over a year ago, I came off my bike, at a relatively low speed (25mph). Colloquially speaking, it had just started spitting. Arguably, the most treacherous time during a rain cycle, in terms of traction.
Rounding a corner on cobblestones I clocked the custom beauties you see in these photographs. In excitement and unable to resist this delicious eye feast, I angled my gaze to the right, flipped-up my visor and throttled down quite sharply, for a more leisurely gander. Just as I did so, I hit a patch of grease, recently risen to the top layer of the road surface.
As the rear wheel and then the whole bike began to slide away from me, the initial stab of panic was replaced by serene resignation. I knew I was going down. It was likely too late to fight physics. Still, I tried.
Moments later after furtive, futile wrestling with the handlebars, I thudded onto the deck, rolled gracelessly then slid along the cobblestones on my back. Thankfully, leather and armoured jeans kept my skin from meshing with the road.
Coming to an abrupt stop I lay (ill-advisedly) motionless in the road, peeved for losing control. Reluctantly, I accepted the consequences of diminished concentration. Rising from the tumble, I dusted myself off. A hollow gesture. Likely, a conspicuous, albeit sub-conscious attempt to return to the peace that preceded the sudden violence of the fall.
I limped towards the bike now twenty to thirty yards along the road, lying on its side. A wounded beast, leaking fluid. I disengaged the ignition and put it out of its misery. In the distance, a sweet old lady with a tartan shopping-trolly crowed tremulously, ‘Are you okay dear?’.
I gave her an affirmative thumbs-up and a wave, despite bruised limbs – none more so than the ego.
Picking the bike up and wheeling it to the side of the road, I smiled wryly and took a few pictures of these bikes. Though next time, I’ll probably just pull over calmly and avoid an impromptu cobblestone massage.
Aside, I think these creations belong to the East London based The Shop Customs or VC London, as I’m fairly certain, I’ve seen them parked outside the workshop.