Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hidden bikes...

"...Volunteers and Citizen Army men...They were marching between lines of armed troops and other soldiers on bikes...And Collins was in there too, in among the Volunteers, half a head over them, out for a stroll." And then later: "Three years on a stolen bike. Through wind, rain and bullets. Henry Smart struck strange, hard blows for Ireland and disappeared." Simple lines, with great meaning, written in a book. And the bikes, at once a tool of the oppressor, and then a means of resistance to the status quo. As cyclists we tend to appreciate how bikes can appear in unexpected places. The physical presence of a bike is not even a requirement. A mere suggestion, something as unobtrusive as the written word as in this case, can suffice. The book has nothing to do with bikes, but is set (it is fiction) in a time and place where bikes were a much more predominant form of transportation. And so, while being a pleasant surprise, it is perfectly natural to stumble upon this reference to them.
Oh, and the book, "A Star Called Henry" by Roddy Doyle is quite good.

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