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My life in Bicycles

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In the same way that having been single for nearly 14 years does not mean that there has not been the  odd date or flirtation in my life, not having ridden a bike for approximately 15 years does not mean that I have not had previous relationships with two-wheeled vehicles. The Purple Peril may be my current significant other and as I wait for the wonderful Bike ER Doctors to take her to the ICU for remedial action including tyre and inner tube transplant in order to restore her to racing fitness in preparation for the Cycletta adventure, I find myself reflecting on the other bicycles that have brought me to where I am today.

I  have already mentioned the Dawes Daisybelle… well as I delve back into the time tunnel of my brain I fear I may have misled you. I now remember that my Father and I did indeed set off to purchase a Daisybelle for  my 10th birthday but due to the fact that I am vertically challenged  and the shop did not have  the correct size frame   it was in fact a purple Dawes Dainty that I came home with that day. It was truly beautiful and had a cute white saddlebag  in which to keep the requisite puncture repair kit .  The kit was in a yellow tin and I have memories of  buckets of water, bubbles and foul-smelling solvent which in the days of innocence of early 60’s childhood we were neither tempted to sniff nor sell.

Moving swiftly into the 70’s the next two-wheeled presence in my life was during my first year at University where the tradition in the Hall I resided in was that  pre owned machines – and some had been pre owned from the days when Amelia Bloomer first ventured out in her risqué cycle wear, were available to freshers for a contribution to JCR funds – I therefore acquired an extremely rusty specimen which got little use as I moved on up to four wheels – or rather boyfriends with cars.I left it languishing and rusting in the cycle rack and hope that its next owner lavished a bit more care and attention on it than I did.  However, the mechanical bi peds were back with a vengeance 3 years later – partner and car were on the other side of the Pennines and I needed transport for a vacation job packing empty Brasso cans.  I never did find out why we had to pack empty cans,  but as I didn’t have to sign the Official Secrets Act, I assume it was not a matter of National Security and that they were not camouflage containers for substances of mass destruction.  So friends  once again came to my rescue – familiar story eh? and I borrowed a rather fabulous green Raleigh complete with thrilling trilling bell which for 3 weeks propelled me back and forth to the workhouse. So impressed was I with rediscovering this form of transport that I swiftly purchased, for a pittance, what was, like a new boyfriend, for a while, one of the joys of my life,  a magnificent yellow machine with basket on the front and a rack at the rear. It was  truly a proper Sit up and Beg  antique  not unlike this rather splendid blue version and  was possibly a sign of growing maturity, being a graduate with a job and a relationship – a relationship which would end several years later with the partner leaving with custody of yet another bicycle, – the ancient yellow bike and basket having been passed to another hopefully careful owner and could even now still be bowling along the roads of East Yorkshire.

From there on in bicycles faded from my life, other than several visits to centre parcs  and their hired bikes getting us from villa to Dome, but with the highlight of  the  wonderful interaction and joy  as my daughter learnt to ride her first bike without stabilisers – pistachio green – and I think a white basket with pink flowers.

But I do also have a truly wonderful memory of bicycles from last year – this picture taken in the amphitheatre of that most wonderful of places- Lucca, where on two different occasions  last year I sat  in glorious sunshine having lunch, drinking wonderful prosecco and relaxing in the understanding and warmth of true friendship. The window display summed up much of where life finds me at the moment, the structures may be ageing but  are still capable of being revitalised by the addition of vibrant new additions and experiences. If someone has the vision to put flowers and metal together and create  such a wonderful  joyous and vibrant  image, I can surely bring something new  to my life  from the amalgam of the Purple Peril, the support of friends and a bit of effort and determination.

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About anneinmid

Ageing optimist still trying to make sense of life. New to blogging.

One response »

  1. My first proper bike was the super cool, and now back in vogue, Raleigh Chopper. It was bright yellow with red lettering, I felt like Dennis Hopper from Easy Rider before I knew who he was or even before I knew the film existed. My one big memory with it was losing my balance and scraping a line, approximately 18 inches, of paint off a car parked on my street. Needless to say I didn’t own up and kept the bike in the shed for about a week. I’ve had a few bikes since then but the next really good one was a Muddy Fox. It was brilliant and sped me everywhere when I was at College and working part-time at Tesco. It was pretty heavy and built like a tank which came in pretty handy when I was knocked off it by a motorist coming out of a side street and ramming me from behind and then blaming me. Makes sense, if you are a complete idiot, which of course he was. Still, all I got was a bent wheel and a sore backside, while he required replacement wing and new tyre as my bike ripped his tyre to shreds and pulled his wing off. Kismet. Fortunately the bike lived to ride another day until I traded it in for another. Fickle, I know. My present bike is great, never lets me down, is totally reliable and although I consider trading her in from time to time I never do. Don’t suppose I ever will until she goes to the great bike rack in the sky.

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