Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Zane Sterling and the Broom Wagon 4

In a city so choked with traffic, the fastest way to get anywhere is to walk or ride your bicycle, cycling gangs now dominate the criminal networks. The police force, with nothing but grid-locked squad cars to pursue them, is powerless to stop the two-wheeled gangs. Ordinary citizens live in fear; businesses that don’t cooperate with the pedaling bandits are looted and destroyed; the mayor is about to institute martial law.

All seems lost. But from this choking and paralyzing shroud over the city emerges one man, the only man who can put a stop to the cycling gangs and pull back from the brink a city on edge. He is former-UCI professional cyclist turn police officer Zane Sterling. After 18 years on the international circuit, Sterling had a reputation for rigidly adhering to the sport’s storied etiquette, and even more for riding clean, which made him few friends and more than a few enemies among his fellow elite riders. He had spent plenty of time on the podium, but far more time in the back of team vans watching his teammates swallow and inject anything they could to gain advantage on the peloton.

Disgusted with what he saw as the corruption of the most elegant pursuit of excellence, Sterling walked away from the grand tours and spring classics to return home. Only, when he got there, he found the same sort of corruption he’d left. Tired of being silent, tired of running, and tired of watching what he loved polluted and abused, Sterling decided to fight back the only way he knew how – standing on the pedals and attacking off the front.

The only member of an elite squad of a new breed of enforcer,he would fight crime astride his bicycle, a custom carbon frame painted matte black, with black rims and hubs, black tape, black cables and shifters, black brakes and cables and derailleurs, black stem and fork. His chain was the only component that wasn’t black, and it shone with the silver luster of storied lawmen, lawmen from an earlier time, another time when justice was served from the saddle.

Sterling always rode alone, but he was aided by a full support team. He had his director giurisprudenza, two soigneurs, and mechanic. Trustworthy and loyal to a fault, Sterling’s support cadre were the best at their craft (when they could catch up to Sterling to perform it). Deputized in a ceremony unattended by the press, a new breed of law man clipped in and set out on the race of his life. And as he dove in to the corners, and attacked the climbs, and threw his bike forward through intersections, he was no longer chasing gold or the top of the podium. He wasn’t even chasing justice, though justice followed him. No, with his nose in the wind and strain in his legs, Sterling was chasing after something more elusive than glory or justice; he was chasing after a place he could call home.

Tune in right here for more stories of Zane Sterling and the Broom Wagon 4.