Antonio Lopez Hidalgo |  Last bike trip ~ Montilla Digital

Antonio Lopez Hidalgo | Last bike trip ~ Montilla Digital

Octavio Ramírez, 62, could not overcome his fear of traveling by motor vehicle. He could never understand how an airplane could stay in the air without the gravity of the earth or the vastness of the sky swallowing this device, which he dared to describe as an arrogant challenge to God. Maybe that’s why I didn’t understand the “Surprise flights” advertisements of some travel agencies. Although we explained to him that this statement only refers to administrative expenses and that air travel is very safe, he considered it a great surprise that he lived at this age with such technological advancements.

The sea was not his strength either. He didn’t understand how a ship could stay afloat without capsizing, but he respected even more the vastness of the sea, a view he had always admired from the safety provided by the shore, the beach, the cliff.

Observing the calm or choppy sea was a scene unlike any other but preferring to see it from the side like the bulls. He felt a certain attachment to the train tracks, which gave him a credibility he could never have achieved either on an airplane or on a boat. But Octavio loved the trains of the 19th century, these coal-based artifacts, not these high-speed trains that only relieved the dizziness he felt by seeing them from the horizon.

From the road, it’s better not to talk. Only the annual statistics of fatal accidents caused him to feel unstoppable nausea. He despised his aesthetics, those aerodynamic models that, at lightning speed, shatter all expectations, poison the air, fill the streets of every city, occupy crosswalks, sidewalks, and parks like a car park. and bulk. Hulks turning cities into infected, uncomfortable and noisy corners.

On the same pedestal he placed vespas, motorcycles, and mopeds, an inauthentic and postmodern copy of the bicycle, the only riding vehicle that Octavio Ramírez considered equal to horse, donkey or camel. In fact, he liked to call it a wheeled horse, after “celery”, the ancestor of the bicycle, which was invented in 1790 by the French Count Mede de Sivrac, also called the wheeled horse. It consisted of a wooden slat mounted on two wheels, ending with the head of a lion, dragon or deer.

For Octavio, the bicycle, unlike other motor vehicles mentioned earlier, was a free and healthy, light and ecological means of transportation. I was amazed by both the size and aesthetics of the bike. I knew that the other ancestors of the bicycle went as far as Ancient Egypt, although it consisted of two wheels joined by a stick; to China, albeit on bamboo wheels; or to the Aztec culture, where a two-wheeled vehicle was propelled by sail. To be more precise, the first report of the first draft of the bicycle dates from 1490 and can be seen in the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Codex Atlantic.

Octavio Ramírez learned to ride a bike from a very young age. I collected folding and hybrid, walking and mountain, static and running. His house was a museum and a personal tribute to this two-wheeled invention. He always boasted that he had never been in a motor vehicle.

He walked all his life, on foot or by bike, until that critical day when the train of life put him in front of him. Mixing unnecessary and tasteless details, the news reported that the accident was a mixture of recklessness and bad luck.

It was 15.30 when the level crossing in the surrounding neighborhood of the city he lived in was closed. Police insisted that a train was approaching when the barrier was lowered, and the traffic light was also red. The policeman continued, pointing, thus indicating the vehicle’s dimensions and position, as a bus was stopped behind the barrier, obscuring the view of Octavio Ramírez, who was getting on his bike as required.

He decided to cross at that moment. When he saw the train, the bicycle was already flying through the air and he was without a parachute, another invention he never liked, although this one, like the bicycle, does not need an engine in its engine. He descends into heaven, where the train takes him, and is exiled forever.

Originally published column Montilla Digital on May 16, 2011.


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