My bike has spent seven years rusting in the side return of a Victorian semi. I bought it on a whim, rode it once or twice and then when the incentive (who was also the person who convinced me that cycling would be a good idea) took a left turn and never came back, the bike sort of stayed where it was.
Everytime I looked at that bike it reminded me of all the horrid things that happened in that relationship, but more than anything else, it just reminded me of failure. My failure. How stupid I had been to let someone that ego-driven and selfish into my life – and by mistake. It was a totally unintentional sort of thing. The incentive (tall, dark and handsome, of course) invaded with ease and charm. I regret that he got past my defences so easily. I regretted that bicycle too, but I couldn’t bring myself to give it away.
When I moved house, the bike moved too. Funny really, because a lot of things that were more loved, were left behind and didn’t make the journey down to the coast. The cat, for instance. After the move, when I was unpacking, I found a list I had written at the beginning of this year. It said: ‘get bicycle fixed’. It might as well have said, ‘mend broken heart’. So I did. I wheeled the rusty, decrepid thing down to the bike shop and asked the nice man behind the counter to take a look and see what could be done to repair the worn tires, adjust the rusty gears and stop it from squeaking when it went over a bump.
Two weeks later, that bike is fixed. Shiny, non-squeaky and fast as lightning. We went for an inaugural ride along the beach today. Like most people starting something new, I wobbled a bit at first. Then somehow the sea and sky worked their magic. The wind blew, the bike flew. And as we passed the regular dog walkers, anglers and pensioned perambulators I felt a sneak of happiness.