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Mad On Wheels

October 1st, 2010 by the_lifer

Happy Fare Increase Day, Wellington! Public transportation prices are rocketing up. The trains are more irregular than ever, alternating between sleek 21st-century carriages and third-world dysfunction. Will’s corner of his office is smug in the face of his these difficulties. Will and his seating colleagues have the Wellington transportation solution trifecta between them. Will walks to work. The others have their solution on two wheels.

On one side of him sits Mad Biker Randy. Randy rides a beat-up Japanese motorcycle on the motorway, gloating as he nips through standstill traffic from the Hutt Valley to downtown. Rain or shine, his machine’s mighty farts wake all the neighbors at seven as he chugs off. (What else do you expect, sighs one of them, from a guy who still calls himself Randy?) The neighbors get a respite about once a month when some malfunction puts the bike out of commission for a week and Randy’s wife drops him off in her minivan. As soon as he gets the bike back, Randy considers himself wild and free once more.

At the other desk – or in the side lane of that same motorway – is Mad Cyclist Andy. Fifty years ago, sinewy, monkey-faced Andy would have been handpicked as a jockey. Today he urges on a bicycle as temperamental as a racehorse, spending most of his lunchtimes covered in axle grease as he fossicks with a persistent brake issue. The problem is unsolvable; few bicycles are made for the rigors of commuting up and down the Ngauranga Gorge’s 40-degree incline each day.

Both men were at their schadenfreude peak on Thursday after a train derailment shut down one of the trains. “It’s terrible,” they agreed. “It’s a situation. Need better disaster planning. All right for us, tough old boots, know what we’re doing, but what about old ladies, eh?” Then they stumped off to their respective finicky transports, grinning in anticipation at a ride home in the bracing rain, their riding gear tight as straitjackets.

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  • Hahaha. I have a similar madman, but his name is Jon. And he can only use his motorcycle when it’s not freezing!