Ayman Ramadan

The Bike Thief

I was out at night, spray-painting my graffiti work in my neighborhood. It was about 3 am and I was dressed all in black so as not to draw attention to myself, when all of a sudden a huge man came running down the street, with the police hot in pursuit.


Footsteps in Noord - Ayman Ramadan

I froze in my tracks, heart pounding. If the police caught me, I knew I could get thrown right out of the country and barred from coming back. But they didn’t care about me, apparently. All they cared about was this huge man, who was about to get away—until a bystander clobbered him with his bike, and he fell. The police were amazingly gentle when they caught up with him; I tried to imagine the same scenario in Cairo, and it would have had a very different result.
I gathered from hearing people around me that the man had tried to steal someone’s bike in the street. I found it poetically just that, in return, his comeuppance came at the hands (or handlebars, as it were) of a bike. The bicycle has a strange power in this city.