The Bike Graveyard

Somewhere there is a bicycle graveyard. Where the bones of old bikes go. They say the elephant graveyard is the place where the old elephants go to die. They know it. Like they know the nearest watering hole. Like they know the man with the gun is not their friend. They know it deep in the back of their elephant bones. “This is where I go when I die.” They are borne with the knowledge of death in their calcium and cartilage. And they begin their slow trudge away from the herd to die alone.

Whenever I see an old bike, beyond repair, embraced by ivy, nustled by holly, chin bopped by bluebells I’m not sad for the old bike. There is nothing more peaceful or pretty than a rusting bike being slowly embraced by the nature that once lifted it up.

“Come home to mama,” the dandilions are saying. “Rust into the earth,” the slow raindrops say. The resprays, despray, to show the pastel colour of the frame underneath, back to the steel core

And like the aging elephants they know they need no compass, no Ordinance survey, no Garmin GPS. No brain on a stick. There is no rider steering them into the final descent. These bikes know when the game is up, when the air will no longer sustain their tyres, perished and unperfected, when the saddle seat post, rusted into the seat tube, will no longer trombone to meet its owner, when the gear cables, long since bled their oil, hang like wicker willow.

In the dark of the pre-dawn. Four am. When the straights are in deep sleep and the party heads are too pissed to notice, they creak through the streets, riderless. From their skips and ditches and unchained bike stands. To the bicycle graveyard. Come home to mama. To the deep dark earth. To the quiet stillness of the end of the road. I love the smell of their musty brakepads. Like mushrooms in the shade.

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