Painting of a bike chained to railing in an alley in London. Created by Cathy Read

Alley Bike

This bike was in an alley by the side of a Costa Cafe in Piccadilly. A few steps to the right, the world passes by on busy bustling streets with cars creeping between sets of lights. The bike was chained to the railings and it’s saddle missing, but it didn’t feel abandoned. I suspect the saddle is regularly regularly removed to prevent theft. On what appeared to be a much loved bicycle.

As alleys go it’s pretty smart and clean. The pavement is weathered, yes, and there are the usual casually discarded cigarette butts and chewing gum, but it gave the impression of somewhere that is regularly cleaned, although probably not daily.
The bike itself has numerous little details that attract the eye, the spokes, cables, handlebars, are all in order behind the black railings and brick wall, which takes up almost the entire painting. Each railing bar is crowned with a spike, but that’s not enough! The space in between is further divided by mini pyramids atop the upper bar.
The weathered walls bricks reflect shades of terracotta, carmine and deep crimson. Hints of purple and green as organic algae try to reclaim the urban scene. There’s a lot of that in a city, the relentless march of time means that nature has to be repeatedly fought to stop the city becoming a forest. Algae are first, grasses a close second, but they’re not being given a chance here. Man is most definitely most definitely in charge.
Did you notice all three windows? I know they are there but still they seem to surprise me. The top one is obvious, but the cellar Windows hide behind the bike and the low wall below the railings. Don’t they seem to be hiding from you?
Painting of a bike chained to railing in an alley in London. Created by Cathy Read
Alley Bike - ©2020 - Cathy Read - Watercolour and Acrylic ink- 40 x 50cm

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