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Legba Carrefour left for Dupont Circle at 5 a.m. this morning with a borrowed truck full of white bikes. The Columbia Heights resident, 27, didn’t know Alice Swanson, the struck-and-killed cyclist whose memorial was removed from the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and 20th and R Streets NW last month.
But Carrefour, who says he’s been two-wheeling through the District since he was 6, says he got “really angry” about the ghost bike’s removal, and spent weeks Dumpster-diving, as well as wailing on Freecycle and Craigslist, looking for old bikes. The idea, which he’s got a blog for: He’d put up 22, one for each year of Swanson’s life, all spray-painted white. As of 10:30 a.m., 16 were still there; Carrefour figures people have nicked them while he’s been off gathering flowers to stick on them.
Carrefour has a scar on his right arm from a collision with a cab, and a chipped tooth from a run-in with an SUV. He has no plans to trade his Surly Steamroller. “One, I couldn’t get around anywhere. It’s fun, it’s relaxing, and it’s easy. Also I can’t afford a car.”
He looks at the circle, screwing up his face at the newly placed sign warning drivers to yield to bikes. “If they take it down,” he says, gesturing to the bike he’s placed where Swanson’s original memorial was, “I have a bunch more that are already white.”
More photos of the bikes after the jump