100-word fiction: ‘He Rides Bicycles’

He was a machine, that’s what people said. So powerful – and everything tested, tuned, synchronised. They said he was in perfect shape. He said it was all about the timing: it was in the mind, not the legs.

You looked at him and wondered what thoughts went through his head as he crossed the line, arms outstretched. Could you still feel joy? Or was winning the only possible conclusion? He would feel pain. You could see the anguish just before the grin. The years of training. Family pressure. Money. Perhaps people were right: maybe being machine was the only way.