I went shopping today for a new bike. It’s several years since I’ve owned a bike (never having replaced the one that was stolen about a decade ago).
It is also about a decade since the last time I’ve ridden a bike. The last time, I know for a fact, was on Rottnest Island (near Perth) in 2004. As vehicles aren’t allowed on the island, there’s a good business there for bike hire. It was a terrific way to make my way around the island, stopping occasionally to look at the flora and fauna, and occasionally for a swim.
Before that, I can’t remember, though, of course, I’ve been riding bikes all my life.
Although I have a vague memory of little bike with training wheels, my first “proper” bike was a Malvern Star bike I received for Christmas. I can’t recall if it was 74 or 75, but by the looks of the photograph I was about eight or nine years old.
I remember falling off that bike, once, and into one of mum’s rose bushes. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
I also remember riding that bike to school and almost swallowing a sparrow. I’m one of those people who likes to sing. And so, as I made my way along to school, a sparrow flew into my open mouth. I spat it out, of course.
I don’t know whatever happened to that bike. After my mum and dad died, my uncle and grandmother continued to live in the house until they died. I suspect a fair few of my things were thrown out.
Years later, living in Wagga I bought a bike which served me well for a few years in Sydney.
Sadly, the bike was stolen over a decade ago and I never bothered to replace it.
But for the last couple of years I’ve been thinking of purchasing a new bike.
“Don’t worry, I won’t be mountain-biking or going in 100km races”, I told the bloke in the shop today. “I just want a bike to ride around on the weekends from time to time. A little bit of exercise, a ride around the park, that kind of thing”, I added.
After some discussion about what was important to me in terms of quality, weight, price and so on, we settled on a Malvern Star. So yeah, back to where I started with the classic Australian brand.
I was a little wobbly at first, but got my balance back pretty quickly. Having not ridden a bike in close to a decade, I worked up a bit of a sweat as I rode back from Newtown.
I also discovered why Surry Hills is called Surry HILLS :)
Off to a fiftieth birthday party soon around the corner – I think I’ll walk.
6 thoughts on “Like Riding A Bike”
I bought Bessie’s fab pink bike from her over a year ago, thinking I’d ride around the neighbourhood – so far it has sat untouched and unloved, taking up space in the garage. Really must bust it out, though I wish there were more bike paths about.
Your blog is looking very smart.
I was given a bike a few years ago. I paid to have new tyres put on it. I lubricated the chain and rode it around Albert Park Lake. I wobbled a lot and at a narrow part as I passed a construction site, I nearly went into the lake. I rode it to Port Melbourne and thought it was a great way to look at houses along the way. I rode it to the South Melbourne shops and it was as quick as taking the car. And a few years later, it sits unused since then. I hope you do better for longer.
On my 18th birthday my bike was stolen from outside the railway station. I reported it to police and they actually came around to the house to take details. Some months later I bought a (very) used car, then after visiting friends 17 kilometres away from the station, what did I see but my bike being ridden in the opposite direction? I stopped the rider and got his name. Turned out he was “known to police”. I got the bike back but it wasn’t worth having. How can you wreck a Sturmey-Archer 3 speed gearbox? He managed it. I don’t recall what eventually happened to that bike.
After riding another bike to work for years in Canberra, I took it off the road to replace brake & gear cables. The new ones needed adjustment, a fiddly job with the gears and the bike was not actually very rideable, I intended to do that on the weekend. Saturday morning I nipped out with a load of stuff for the dry cleaner and foolishly left the gate and garage open. Anonymous was giving the Scientologists near the dry cleaners a hard time and I watched proceedings for a while, then decided to pick up a few items on the way home. So I was away a little longer than expected. When I got back I thought that there was something wrong. I could not place what it was, so I went inside. A few minutes later went out again to start work on the bike and it was g-o-n-e.
Strange thing was that a few weeks before I had accidentally left it unchained by the office for a whole weekend and it was still there on the Monday.
You never know. . . . .
Fantastic story, Ken!
Carol and Andrew – Have already been for a second ride, so the jink is broken!
Have already had my first accident…