A few miles from my house, just down the highway from here and parked along the side of the road, is a bicycle. It’s a refurbished antique, painted spectral white all over (even the wheels) with a little basket on front and I think a little bell on the handlebars. It’s a mid-fifties or sixties job, really nicely restored, (not one of those retarded looking, turn-of-the-century contraptions with the five-foot-tall front wheel) and if I can get up the nerve, I’ll take a picture so I can replace the creep show I’ve posted up above.
It must be a memorial of some kind, but I’ve never stopped to read the sign because A) I only notice it at night, and B) for some reason, only after I’ve been drinking, and C) I’m afraid to stop because the cops might ask awkward questions if they see me kneeling on the shoulder of the highway late at night attempting to decipher a sign in the dark.
That, and it really creeps me out.
When I get home at night, I can’t help it. In my mind, I see a little dead girl with blonde hair and thin bloodless lips and black staring eyes. She’s following me home on the ghost bike, the white dusty wheels going squeak, squeak, squeak, real slow, and I can hear her riding past my house, the little bell going ding, ding, ding in the dark and I know I’ll wake up around two AM to pee and she’ll be standing there next to my bed, her doll’s eyes staring at me and her little pudgy fingers reaching out…
In 2005, there were 784 deaths by bicycle (sorry, I don’t feel like looking for more recent statistics right now). Nearly half of these were in the 35-54 age group, which makes me wonder why so many old(er) people are out riding bicycles, especially to the point of death. Most of these were car vs. bicycle (the bike lost), and most died of head injuries. It’s a damn good thing I don’t feel the need to partake in reckless behavior such as this.
You know, when I was a kid, bicycle helmets hadn’t even been invented yet. Just think how the course of history might have been changed if the bicycle helmet had been invented at the same time as the bicycle? Maybe the next Hitler or the next Einstein or the next Jonas Sauk might have been saved had those crazy Frenchmen given more thought to safety before unleashing this dangerous mode of transportation.
Anyway, the white bike creeps me out. Just thought you should know.