Bang Bang you’re not Dead*

So I’m walking over Kew Bridge this evening on my way to the station when I hear a bang. A really loud bang. Loud enough that everyone stops walking and looks around, and then walks on suddenly feeling a bit vulnerable out there in the open. I don’t know what caused it – sorry, I had a train to catch – but I did think to myself, ‘that doesn’t sound like a car backfiring.’ And then I thought. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever heard a car backfiring.’ And then I thought ‘What does a car backfiring sound like, anyway? And when did a car last backfire? And what the hell is backfiring, when it comes down to it?’ And by then I had reached the station and if there was any explosions or gunshots going on I’d more or less forgotten about them. My colleague, who ought to be old enough to know better, reckoned it sounded like a firework going off in an enclosed space, which given the time of year makes some sense. Looks like it’s going to be a long Guy Fawkes season again. 

It’s definitely going to be a long dark winter. I’ve been cutting it fine all week, cycling home without my lights, but today it was beyond cutting it fine and venturing well into dicing with death instead. I managed to clip a light on the back of my bag so the cars coming up behind me had something to aim for but there’s still no way of fixing my front light on to anything at all. I tried to improvise by holding it onto the handlebar with one hand and only realised the utter stupidity of this plan when I realised I couldn’t reach the brakes as I was approaching the crossing. This may well be another reason why cyclists need three feet – extra emergency braking capability. After briefly contemplating other mad schemes (in my teeth? Dangling from my backpack straps?) I decided to concentrate on cycling home as fast as I could in the gathering gloom. Never mind gunshots. If anyone’s going to kill me, it will probably be me…

* If any family members – particularly my mother – are reading this, none of the second paragraph is true. It’s all made up. Total fiction. Honest. Er …


10 responses to “Bang Bang you’re not Dead*

  1. Car backfires are quite rare, and are usually old or badly abused vehicles.

    Loud unexpected bags like that can be heartstopping, especially nowadays. I wonder what it was!

    Do get your bike lights sorted please as we can’t have you having any mishaps.

    Have a good weekend.

  2. Have you got one of those hi-vi jackets…maybe I should send you one…

    You could always glue your front light to your helmet (if you wear one) while your there, stick a orange flashing light there too..

    Enjoy the “wizz bangs” will you like me, be sick of fire works by 5th Nov?

  3. I meant bangs not bags!

  4. Flighty – I’m going to try and get something sorted today

    Tubedude – the fireworks aren’t so bad here, when we lived in Hackney the bangs were pretty much continuous by the time the 5th came around. I got a bit sick of that. And I’ve got a very bright jacket but it’s not reflective. I try and stick to the side roads

  5. Update: new brackets purchased, lights fit perfectly – you may all breathe easily once more.

  6. If you think Nov 5 is bad, you should try living near Southal around Diwali. If ever John Simpson wanted to fake a piece about being in a war zone, he’d only have to head there. I’m sure some of the rockets have been nicked from the US military!

    P.S. is it me, or are the hidden letter code thingies that you have to type to post a comment getting harder? If you’re not reading this, then I guess there’s my proof

  7. James are you sure it’s not just that you need glasses in your old age?

  8. I find these hidden thingies on 20six damn easy! Some of the others I encounter I need about 5 tries… these are cool! Yet the lights… It’s funny how in England not many bikes are standard equipped with a dynamo (not sure of English word) and fitted front and back light. I’ve had to use it a couple of times now being back home, fabulous! But nobody here does helmets or reflective jackets. Suppose that’s the advantage of living in a country which was designed to be cycled through…

  9. What’s that dear? Speak up, I can’t hear you.

    By one of those beautiful strokes of irony (mixing metaphores) the code below reads ‘toNE’ – but where’s the ‘DeAf’?

  10. James – spam captcha knows. Sometimes it’s a bit spooky

    Caatje – Don’t you find that dynamos (it’s the same word in English) dim the lights when you stop cycling or slow down though? Bikes all used to have dynamos but you never seem to see them these days

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