on buying a shitcycle

I bought a bicycle. It’s bright purple and made for kids, but £10 says that I couldn’t care. You see, I caught a backie with a friend and decided: Right, I need a bike. It’s part of the experience. And man. Has it been an experience.

I trawled Gumtree, Preloved, Friday-Ad, looking at semi-decent bikes at semi-decent prices, until this seemingly amazetits deal appeared before me. Divine Providence, I tell you. So, I caught the bus to look at this £15 bike, optimistically not buying a return, reasoning that for £15, how bad could it be. When I got to the house, the woman hauled out a tiny little bike which we dragged out of the house and I rode up and down her street. Trying to hustle me, she told me it was in working condition. But the brakes weren’t great shakes and the gears made haunted house sounds. It was small. I asked her if it was actually a child’s bike. She hesitated before telling me that she had bought it for her daughter ‘but uses it herself in the park’. She whipped out a spanner and we hiked the seat up as far as it could go. I looked at it dubiously. I offered her a tenner. She seemed reluctant. Then she gave in. And I rode away on a bright purple bike. Who hustled who, I ask you?

By the time I got home, having just ridden a bicycle for pretty much the first time in 10 years, the wheel was making grating noises and I had realised that the gear was stuck on 4. But still. What can you expect for £10. I’ll add now, that I was quite impressed with myself for having cycled 2 miles without getting killed or keeling over. I was overjoyed, despite the problems worming their way out of the rust. The next time I took the bike out, all hell broke loose. It was unridable. But, being resourceful, I found a place where I could fix it myself with some advice and borrowed tools for a donation. Great! Off I hauled the bike. Two metres down the street, the wheel had jammed against the frame and the chain had fallen off. I was coated in grease and had to carry the god-forsaken thing 2 miles across town on a sweaty, sticky Saturday morning. But I did. And I got to Crank, and the lovely man helped me, and I tightened the brakes, pumped the tires, and fixed my wheel back on and tightened the hubs, and rode my little bike home again. Turns out, the brakes can only be saved a small amount and are basically doomed.

I think the bike was in an accident. But again, £10 says that I don’t care. Dolores gets me to work and back in 10 minutes and I love the freedom and mobility of riding a bike. But, if we’re all being honest here, I’m already looking for my next new love. The bike bug has bitten and I want one that I can trust to stop at red lights.


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