Nocturne (1)

I used to ride at night a lot, blatting round the lanes on my faithful Marin (steel frame, slicks, no suspension, a proper old-school MTB) on winter nights dark as espresso in winds getting out of Siberia in a hurry. I don’t do it now – I’m past fixing punctures by torchlight in sub-zero windchill – but being out there alone, under the moon, made for some of my most memorable rides.


By day, I am prey
To cars and the like.
But I own the night.
The stars and my bike
Run silent and swift,
I am the ghost rider,
Blink and I’m gone
In a whisper of wheels.
Racing, owl-silent
On the ashen and smouldering
Road beneath cloud towers
And streetlight-stained skies.
In the night, I am lighter,
A helium shadow,
A fugitive flying from gravity’s grip.
I have nothing to fear
From the fathomless woods
Closing over the road
Like a wave on the shore.
I glory in speed,
And the roll of the road,
And the moon-billowed sky
And the tear-tearing air.

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