Don’t forget your stabilisers

The only coincidence that is somewhat linked to my current mishap is my reading of a review of a new book on the five times Tour de France winner, Eddy Merckx. His desire to win rivalled that of the similarly-driven Formula One champion, the late Ayrton Senna. As usual my mind wandered into the unhinged dominion of Absurdica. I imagined the scenario of Merckx and Senna having a speed duel on camels. That’s right, camels. The most famous Belgian, arguably, against the Saint from Sao Paulo with not a wheel in sight, racing on sand.

Anyway, this is not what this is all about, for once this is a serious blog. At the weekend my son left his bike unlocked outside the sports centre. He was in a rush; forget to chain it up and when he returned it was gone. Bad as it is, these things happen and I was not angry with him. Some situations call for cool and cucumber was the order of the day. We didn’t report the incident as there are no CCTV cameras in the grounds. Without witnesses on hand there was no chance of recovery. We wrote it off.

It still left me with the job of replacing said vehicle. Mentioning the economic gloom to him I could only promise a bike at the lower end of the market. He was happy with this as he only uses the bike a few times a week. While not discouraging him from the extra exercise cycling brings I worry when he is on the road. For his wellbeing I make sure he is Hi-Vis’ed to the nines. None of this skimpy aerodynamic lycra for him, I have him padded up like a linebacker.

Halfords seems a logical destination to start the search for a decent two-wheeler. Some breaking news for you. Bicycles to car parts retailer Halfords Group Plc reported a drop in sales in the run-up to Christmas so they’ll like our custom. I might show this page to their manager in the hope of a discount. After all, this is a free plug for them. Sometime next week my son and I will pencil in a date that is suitable for both of us.

Cycling has never rocked my boat, nor have cars either for that matter, though in my youth it was a badge of honour to own a chopper. Only the kids with the well-off parents could drive these machines; envy was rife along with the legendary plea “Gonnae give me a shot?”
This was the Ferrari of bikes.

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9 Comments on “Don’t forget your stabilisers”

  1. Hi JW, I’m sorry to hear about the stolen bike. The same thing happened to my eldest daughter when she was living here in Tenerife a few years back. Very annoying!

    I was given a full size adult bike when I was only 7 years old. Of course it was far too big for me to ride properly, so in the early days I had to make do with using it as a scooter. I must have fallen off it hundreds of times before I’d grown enough to ride it.

    But that bike lasted me through my schooldays and was my main form of transport through college. What a brilliant present that was!

  2. Hello JW and Canary and Expat nearby perhaps. What a joy to read your Unhinged stuff again, JW, with glorious vision of camels. (still not reconnected – at least we have roof now and thank heavens for library with PC's).

    So sorry to hear about your son's bike, and hope Halfords have the answer. I once bought a drop-handle specimen from them – have no idea why, I'd just mused on the drive to work that exercise might be interesting to try, and the salesman saw me coming.

    The following three mornings I got up at 5.30am to have a wonderful sunny traffic-free burst of effort around the lanes. Then the thrill departed and it languished in the shed.

    However, twenty years later when my brother came to stay, he dragged it out, replaced a tyre, and whizzed with George and I (on our supermarket specials with shopping basket) along the merry byways. It's obviously a classic.

  3. Expat Says:

    Hi all…temporarily impeded by not being at my beloved PC with lightning connections.Return to normal tomorrow when I arrive back at the woman-cave (aka home office). Meanwhile, lovely to hear you have a roof, D. Sorry that BT Telecom, or whatever your ISP of choice is, is behind the 8 ball with hook-up.Doesn't surprise me. More tomorrow from the Colonies.

  4. JW10 Says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments and assorted biking tales.

    New bike just bought for the boy- Halfords £129. Oh well, I'll just have to do some overtime next week.

    Great to hear from you DD, we have all missed you. Hope you reconnect soon. Thank you for taking the time to punch those keys in that library PC. You'll soon be a boxing champ. 🙂

    CI, your solar flare scare story has made me stock up on tins of beans. Don't know why?

  5. Anonymous Says:

    My first new bike was when I passed the 11+ and was heading to grammar school. It was a Raleigh. Mum bought it from my Uncle Syd, who owned a bike shop…sales and repairs. Syd (I think his real name was Shylock) made Mum pay full whack. I don't think she ever forgave him for that. It lasted ne all through school, then I got a Vespa…but that's another story.

  6. Expat Says:

    Hit the wrong button Anonymous was me.

  7. No need for bicycle clips on a Vespa…

  8. JW10 Says:

    Hello all,

    I get the occasional anonymous comment that blogger's spam filter stops in its tracks. Your eloquent bicycle moment passed the spam test, Expat. Well done!

    As we've now moved onto motorbikes, only once have I “ridden” one. One of my friend's brothers who was a few years older than the rest of us bought a motorbike (no idea of the make/model) and, in turn, gave us all a “backy” round a couple of blocks. Exhilarating stuff and not one of the passengers wore a helmet. You can't get away with that sort of thing nowadays.

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