This Halloween we’re hosting a special theme ride at all three studios! You can catch Claudia at 19:00 on October 31st for Velobeat at the West Location, Stephane at 12:10 on October 29th for Veloburn at the Zug Location, and Rolf for Veloburn at 18:10 on October 31st at the Enge location. To get into the spirit here’s a story about a certain Front Desk worker at our Enge location who had their own haunted ride of a night.
The following story is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and situations are made up
The last ride of the day had passed and I sat at the front desk saying goodbyes to the final group of clients as they made their way outside and into the darkness of night. As the door opened a brisk breeze of fall air flowed in as dead leaves skated across the pavement. I checked my phone excited to let my friends know my shift ended and I would change into my Captain Morgan costume quickly and head over for the Halloween Party. It was one of my favourite nights of the year; a time to disappear into costume, socialise, and take a night off from the long study sessions. I finished loading the towels, spraying the shoes, and switched off the studio lights for the evening before making my way back out front.
The Enge platform was strangely quiet tonight. Not a single train had passed by in what seemed ages. I couldn’t remember the last time I hadn’t heard the screeching brakes gripping to the tracks as they aimed to stop. Zürich is by no means the city that never sleeps but I found myself alerted to the stillness that surrounded the studio. It felt as if someone had closed down Enge. No laughs or cries from children, no car horns or revving engines; I couldn’t even make out a bird call or the sound of bike gears. I stood by the door for far too long waiting for something to happen before I shook myself out of it and locked the front entrance, knowing I was far too late for the party as it was. Each step I took towards the changing area seemed to echo through the room in the absence of any other noise. It was so quiet I could feel my heart beat like a kick drum in my ear, pulsating in time.
In the locker room I unzipped my bag to find the red coat and tricorn hat, but as I do so the music begins to blare out from the Power room. The strength of the bass was enough to almost knock me down with surprise. I let out an embarrassed laugh, knowing the instructor must have left their phone attached to the sound system. With great haste I ran to the door of the room, only to find as I opened it, the music abruptly paused. Checking the instructor bike, I found no phone or source of the music. Sonos system acting up again, I thought to myself. I closed the door and went back to the locker room to undress.
I was barely into my boots before I heard the front door slide open. My face wrinkled with confusion as I had locked up and wasn’t expecting anyone from Velocity. Looking in the mirror and seeing Captain Morgan staring back, I rolled my eyes knowing I was in for an interesting interaction with whomever had managed to get through the doors. No sooner than I turn the corner towards the front desk prepared for a world of awkwardness do I stop in my tracks. The sliding doors stood open as if someone was standing in them but not a soul was there. I was frozen in place, listening to the wind whistle towards the train tunnel and leaves scratching cement, before I finally felt the strength to call out.
“H-hello?” I said sheepishly with a lump in my throat, as the fear seemed to be choking my words. No one answered back, but I was struck with fright as once again the Power room erupted in music without explanation. I crept slowly toward the entrance, filled with dread. As I closed in the smell was unmistakable: smoke.
In a panic I ran to grab a towel in case the handle of the door was heated. Opening it, a rush of black fog engulfed me, the music still blaring and the lights now glowed through the haze. The alarms sprung to action. I pulled out my cell phone and quickly dialed the fire department.
“Hi, I’m at Gutenbergstrasse 1 at Velocity on the Enge Station. We have a fire in one of our studio rooms if you could get down here quickly!” I loudly confessed to the operator.
“Okay stay calm, we’re sending over help right away, is anyone hurt?”, She replied in a calm voice.
“No it’s just me, I…” The words were choked in my throat. My eyes widen as through the fog of smoke I saw a figure. It was tall, irrationally slack, and appeared as a silhouette so black it was still clear through the smoke.
“Hello Sir?” The operator asked. I couldn’t reply. The figure began moving towards me, dragging its legs behind it like an injured animal. I knew I was alone that night. I checked all the rooms before I closed up. There was no reason to be seeing what I was witnessing.
Finally I said in a whisper, “Just send help please.” Delirious I did the wrong thing and hung up the phone. I slammed the door shut and ran outside as quickly as I could. I sat staring at that door for what seemed like a lifetime before finally I saw heard the sirens approaching in the distance. My relief was instantaneous. The firefighters quickly got to work and entered the studio, but they came out with puzzled looks on their faces. One of the more senior members of the brigade approached me.
“I’m sorry sir, but we can’t seem to find any source for the smoke you saw. In fact there was no smoke to begin with in any of the rooms.” He said to me with concern.
Defeated I just put my head down in confusion. He read the look on my face and moved down on one knee to get closer to where I was sitting.
“You know, this used to be the old Station Nightclub. When they were building it there were a lot of contractors moving in and out the building. Getting close to their deadlines they ramped up construction, spending long nights with little sleep trying to finish the work. Well one night one of the metal workers in his exhaustion left a welding rod near some dry wood before passing out in a chair. I was on the scene that day. When we got there, we could tell he tried to escape but some framing had fallen on his legs, trapped him in the burning room….Such a mess, still haunts me.” He paused for a moment. “Come to think of it, I think this was the same day.”
I looked up in his eyes, and it seemed we both understood each other without saying another word. I thanked everyone for their prompt response and called some friends at Velocity to let them know what all the fuss was about. In the end they called it a faulty alarm.
At the party later I began to calm down. A few drinks and some friendly conversation seemed to put me in the right mood again. I was dancing in living room before it hit my nose again. The smell of smoke.