It's the thrill of speeding through wide-open routes, feeling the wind in your face, your own exhilarated laughs being pushed back down your throat by the breakneck velocity at which you are accustomed to travelling.

It's the frisson of exuberant joy you get from waving cheekily at everyone else who has to walk, of being able to get wherever you want in the fraction of the normal time.

Quite simply, it's the beauty of being alive, of being at the very top of the world. Of being able to go places as fast as you like, and not having to wear the soles of your shoes out on yet another day spent trouncing up and down labyrinthine routes following a shoddy knock-off of a map.

It's quite something, you tell anyone who would listen – be it disgruntled, no-longer-so-dignified Gentlemen, brushing off the padded tweed sleeves of their waistcoats and muttering about rough-and-ready young ruffians (the nerve of them!), or aghast Aroma Ladies picking up squashed flower stalks and righting their upended baskets (you should stop to smell the roses sometimes, honestly!), or even scowling Roughnecks muttering darkly about the sort of road terror you would make once you get old enough to own a motorcycle (kid, lemme be one of the many that tell you that the day anyone gets you anything that goes faster than ten kilometres an hour is a dark day for everyone.)to be able to ride through the countryside without a care in the world.

When Hikari hears of your exploits on your noble, trusty steed (also known as The Bicycle), she only purses her lips with disapproval and shakes her head disparagingly at you. That's the worst investment ever for you! she laments, fingers trailing in elaborate pantomime through the air. It's not as if you don't knock enough people over when you walk.

With a busy lifestyle like mine, you boast, puffing out your chest and giving your bike bell a ring for the sake of it, you can't afford to be late for anything, anytime, anywhere. Can't all be Slowpokes like you now, can we? Exactly! Well, see you later! And if you're not at Snowpoint Gym by this afternoon, I'm fining you a million—no, ten million…no, well, let's just say it builds up. Interest, and all that! Well, I really gotta run now—

Of course, things aren't quite the same when you forget to brake and end up sprawling head-over-heels into an offending bush, having to traipse out in a sorry state to retrieve your dented bicycle and pick the twigs and foliage from your hair and clothes, and yelling profuse apologies over your shoulder at the angry swarm of nesting Beautifly hot at your heels.

If there's one thing you learnt from that little experience, it's that the Great Outdoors make Great Cycling Paths, but thorny rosebushes make terrible landing spots. The same could be said of aggravated Beautifly, the vindictive little buggers.

And of course, things aren't really the same either once you get to Snowpoint City: you find it's quite impossible to cycle through all those snowdrifts and blizzards without sinking neck-deep into the stuff every five steps.

You finally enter the gym, wheezing gently, slightly out of breath, dripping puddles of slush all over the doormat and with a face red enough to be seen from Kanto. Everything's sort of worth it in the end—until you see Hikari trounce the leader and nab herself the Icicle Badge.

Eh, neat, you grunt, and refuse to acknowledge the fact that she beat you this time in almost every sense of the term, until she giggles and upends you headfirst into a pile of snow.

Oh, well, you decide. There's plenty more opportunity to pay her back for that later.

endnotes. Written for poképrompts on LiveJournal. Whoo-hoo, finally, a break from all that angst and darkfic!