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And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means

Time did not however allow me to play and be golden in his mercy for long this morning! The Duchess and I spotted sunshine after a spell of rain – and the way the sun shone, like the sky would never ever be gloomy – and took off. The **moment** we left it started to pour again. When am I going to learn to look up and believe weather forecasts.

In the tunnel, I met a dude with an uber cool bike. I broke London Rule #1: Do not make conversation with strangers. Gawking at his yellow-black bike, I had to ask him about it. You see this wasn’t just any ordinary bike. This was a recumbent bicycle as he explained. As he drove off I couldn’t help thinking that it did look a bit scary. But oh so cool.

I think every bike in the world is special. I don’t know what about them makes them so special to me. Perhaps it is because they represent freedom and  childhood joys? Or simplicity. It doesn’t have to cost too much to own one. Perhaps it is because every cycle to me looks slightly sad, almost as if it is longing to ride away on its own? Whatever the reason, I have built up a small collection of pictures of what I like to call “abandoned cycles” (which are of course usually just parked and not abandoned).

Check out this little sweetheart for instance. Though I don’t agree with the indiscriminate paint job, which didn’t spare even her brakes or bell, look at those lovely little stars in the spikes. Imagine how they must look in motion – like a dream. Like a magic spell coming to life. Like they will carry the rider towards the sky. Everything a bike stands for (to me at least).

Speaking of abandoned, this bike here looks like it has been comprehensively left to its own devices on a cold winter morning in Amsterdam. Poor thing. Left in the middle of the road like that.

But at least its fate is slightly better than that of the bikes pushed into the freezing canals at night. I fished one out – it was hanging still chained to the railing – then another and then gave up when I realized there were many hapless bikes in need of rescue.

Here’s another picture from Amsterdam – something we definitely need to see more of in London.