Two Wheels Good

Sidey’s Weekend Theme (yes, it’s Monday, but I’d to keep quiet all day yesterday) is “A Bicycle Made For Two, Or One”…

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It was a bicycle made for two.

His job was to hold the handlebars, controlling the direction in which they would travel. He also got to pedal furiously, and to ring his bell. It was a typical bicycle bell, which meant that it had an audible radius of about one foot, but that didn’t stop him ringing it incessantly.

The job of his co-cyclist, his Dad, was to hold on to the back of the bike and push as fast as he could.

This was not his only task. It was also his job to shout off approaching dogs, to apologise to people forced to leap from the footpath, and to rap his shins sharply against the back wheel whenever his son suddenly applied the brakes without warning.

He also fixed pumptures, so called, presumably, because they involved pumping up the tires. In Formula 1 terms he was the talent, and Dad was the mechanics.

On Sunday mornings they would take the bicycle to the park, and they had such fun together, he roaring with joy at the sheer speed at which they would travel, his dad wheezing with breathlessness at the sheer speed at which they would travel. They were a team.

They hadn’t always done this. Once he had had a bicycle made for one. It was the same bike, but with tiny wheels attached at the sides. But in time he felt that it was a bit like the Batmobile having L-plates. Dad the mechanic had removed the tiny wheels because he was too grown up for it, though not too grown up to propel himself alone. He had a feeling that Dad pushing was cheating, but if Fred Flintstone could power his car with his feet then why couldn’t he power his bike with his dad’s.

On this morning they was going really fast. “Keep going, Dad!” he shouted.

There was no reply, not even the gasped-out “I am” that normally accompanied such exhortations. He looked back over his shoulder.

His dad was standing about twenty yards behind him, with a smile on his face like an upturned mudguard..

He wobbled, he wibbled, then put his head down and pedalled, really pedalled, harder than he’d ever done before. The bicycle straightened out, and he was cycling. If he thought that he roared with joy before, it was nothing compared to the visceral yell of delight with which he travelled now, right up to the ornamental lake where he applied the brakes, showering startled ducks with small bits of gravel.

It was a bicycle made for one again.

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