Meanwhile: Freedom of the city

RICHARD WALKER
Last updated 11:22 09/11/2012

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Meanwhile

The kids are all wrong Go take a jump Escapades in the night Art galleries should relax the rules Infection takes hold It’s the economy, stupid When predators call Song of the cyclist Questioning Crafar sale doesn’t make me racist All change at Raglan?

Cool cyclists. Skinny, casually dressed, helmet optional.

One is heading south along Hamilton's Victoria St. He's pulled up at the lights as the traffic pours into the city from the Claudelands bridge. He's waiting.

And while he waits his feet never touch the ground. He's standing on his pedals, front wheel cocked to the right, bike gently rocking forwards and backwards on an arc that would put him at about 11 o'clock on an imaginary clock face.

He waits, he rocks, the traffic keeps coming and he waits some more. His feet never touch the ground. He could keep this up for hours. Finally, though, he sees a gap and seizes it, heading off down Victoria St, the quickest thing on the block.

Another is heading north along Hamilton's Victoria St, helmetless, shirt flapping.

He can't be arsed with the road so he's on the footpath, whirring along, rear hub clicking over like a fly fishing reel, the occasional push of the pedals enough to keep him going past shopfronts and pedestrians.

He nips out onto the road. Not to join the traffic, though. He's out on the road because he's spotted an empty can lying about two metres out from the kerb.

He whips past it on the outside and, as he does so, flicks his back wheel sideways.

The can is sent spinning into the gutter and, with barely a backward glance, he veers back onto the footpath.
  
Cool, free-wheeling cyclists.

Uncool cyclists. That would be me, cautious, swaddled in fluoro, watching the cool ones as they disappear effortlessly into the distance.

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- Waikato

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