Yes it is true, I have bought a bicycle. Actually I have bought a heap of rust masquerading as a bicycle, but then what do you expect for a lousy £20?
Why? you ask.
I live within walking distance from work, but roughly 40 minutes walking away from town, and while there is a bus service it is pretty scarce on a Sunday. Occasionally I need to get something that the local co-op does not have and then I am stuck.
I call my new velocipede “The Rusticle” because that is probably the best description of it. It has more rust on it than the Titanic, and is probably less seaworthy too.
Sizewise it it is probably a tad too small for me, but then I do not have as far to fall. The bike comes from an illustrious maker of bicycles: Raleigh Bicycle Company of Nottingham.
My first bike I had when I was in primary school was a 26″ Raleigh Rapier, and it was a beaut. although it was missing the cool factor of the Raleigh Chopper. I learnt to ride a bike with the Rapier, and my father spent a lot of time running behind me until one day he stopped running and I kept going until I hit a fence. The Rapier did not have the cool factor, but it did expand my range and along with my friends we “did stuff on our bikes (and that included the playing card on the spokes)”. Our primary school did not have bike sheds though so going to school by bike was out.
Now compare the Chopper above to my bog standard black and white Rapier and you will see what I mean. Somehow you could only look cool on a chopper, and of course even more cool as you kissed the pavement after yet another wheelie gone wrong, Choppers were notorious for accidents, but at least when you came short it was while riding a Chopper.
Oddly enough they have not gone away completely, originals can ask a high price, and the MKIII
will set you back a spare bit of change. (£275)
My dabbling with bicycles came to an end upon entering high school, the school was not too far away, but we were hampered by the huge school bags that we lugged around, and being the most anal high school on the planet we were not allowed haversacks or any sort of shoulder bags. I ended up going hither and thither by bus instead
When I came back from the army, I bought another bike, and it was a disaster on 2 wheels. It was a so called “Western Flyer” and was manufactured in Bophuthatswana or some far off failed homeland and had to be returned to the manufacturer by train when it literally fell apart underneath me. I eventually ended up buying a really nice racing bike which I used to ride from where I stayed to work and back, almost getting wiped out in Central Avenue in Mayfair on a number of occasions. When I moved to Hillbrow the bike came with, but it never went anywhere again and I ended up selling it.
Then in 1988 I went on a cruise and it was also a disaster.
However in our frustration the three of us hired bicycles and went for a ride along the Durban beachfront (sad isn’t it?) and that was the last time I rode a bicycle.
On Wednesday 23rd of September 2015, after so many years, I sat on a saddle (and I could hear dormant piles shouting aloud in anticipation). It was a wobbly few minutes out of our gate and back into the other gate, and on the next day I biked down to Morrisons and it only took 10 minutes (usually a 20 minute walk). So I am back in the saddle again and have to remember so many things that I have forgotten over the years. There are a lot of cyclists in the UK, some with bugs in their teeth, some taking a more sedate ride down the road. Often whole fleets of high viz clad munchkins accompanied by their parents/guardians/minders will pedal by, and sometimes one of those sleek serious cyclists will flash past on his carbon fibre high tech speed machine. I probably fit in better with the munchkins.
So, that is my tale of woe. I may go for a ride tomorrow, or maybe not. The difference is that now I have a means, so finding an excuse is going to be difficult.
Oh, I did contemplate one of those new smarmy choppers, but decided against it. After all, I will never be cool, but rather just moderately warm.
© DRW 2015-2017. Created 26/09/2015, images migrated 02/05/2016