MY SWEET LITTLE BIKE

Beijing, 21 August 2015

When I was young (“so much younger than today” as the Beatles sang so long ago), I was a fanatic of the bike. Well, at least during the summer holidays I was. I would spend them at my grandmother’s house in France, where there were always a bunch of bicycles, big and small, old and new, lying around and ready to be grabbed and ridden. My cousins spent the summer next door, so we would spend endless afternoons bicycling around the Beaujolais countryside which surrounded us – I’ve already written about this in a previous post.

When I was 10 or 11, my parents decided that it was time for me to have my own bike. They took me down to the main bicycle shop in the nearby market town. After a certain amount of negotiation, we agreed on a Peugeot bike. How I loved that bike! It was an exquisite light green colour, with a real leather saddle, four gears, silver mudguards, white-walled tyres, a little satchel hanging behind the saddle with all the equipment needed to mend a puncture, a pump hooked to the crossbar, lights that worked with a dynamo which clicked into place on the front wheel and which purred as I flew down the darkened lanes at night… As you can see, that bike has been etched deeply into my memory. I spent many a happy moment cleaning it, burnishing it, oiling it, pumping its tyres. Whenever I arrived for a holiday, after a hasty peck on my grandmother’s cheek, it was to my bike that I rushed, to give it a loving wipe and the first whirl of the holidays down the lanes.

Well, I grew up and moved on. The bike stayed mournfully propped against the garage wall, while I graduated to motorized transport – the moped first, then the car. I would give it a pat from time to time, and then nephews and nieces began to use it, then I stopped going to my grandmother’s house, then one day it was gone.

It’s not as if I betrayed my bike with another. Apart from a year or two when my wife and I were living near Lake Maggiore and did everything by bike – going to work of course, but also the shopping, the post office, the cleaning, and simply touring around – I just stopped riding bikes. It’s difficult to ride a bike in cities, you know, and then the kids came along, and then, and then … Even in China, empire of the bicycle (well, fast becoming the empire of the car), I never rode a bicycle.

Until now.

I won’t go into the details, suffice to say that by pure happenstance I’ve been given the use of a bike, and I have a place to park it safely, both at work and at home. So now every day, I ride to and from work. On this sweet little thing.

the bike i get to use

OK, it’s not a cool racing bike like this one

racing bike-3

or this one

racing bike-2or even this one (whose green rather reminds me of the green of my Peugeot bicycle)

futuristic bike-7

And it doesn’t give me an excuse to dress up in this unutterably cool way

racer-2

Nor does it allow me to go around in this intriguing way

racer-horizontal-1

or this extraordinary way (apparently this bike works on water too)

futuristic bike-3

But that’s OK, it allows me to reconnect with the bike. And it gives my thighs a really good work-out! My daughter will be very pleased to hear that. She’s always telling me and my wife to do more exercise.

________________________

the sweet bike: my pic
Racing bike-1: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-V3gpmEz-om0/UxP8LMHKuCI/AAAAAAAAACI/rDNuF4gP888/s1600/Imageu.jpg [in http://nurhayara.blogspot.com/%5D
Racing bike-2: http://www.conceptbook.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/bicicletta-aria-marco-mainardi.jpg [in http://www.conceptbook.org/aria-marco-mainardi/%5D
Futuristic bike-1: http://cfs16.tistory.com/image/5/tistory/2011/01/11/11/41/4d2bc34ce7c68 [in http://myblueday.tistory.com/6676%5D
Racer: http://cyclingnz.com/profiles/a497_DSC_3075.JPG [in http://cyclingnz.com/cnz5_profiles.php?n=54%5D
Racer-horizontal: http://proporzionedivina.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/day9buatois1web1.jpg [in http://proporzionedivina.wordpress.com/2011/01/%5D
Futuristic bike-2: http://images.lainformacion.com/cms/bicicleta-anfibia/2012_10_29_PHOTO-ff2bca1b09886ed6447d13ad8dbedb0b-1351511060-9.jpg?width=995&height=650&type=height&id=HejqmIQJgDeHTw3t1hrgo1&time=1351512206&project=lainformacion [in http://noticias.lainformacion.com/economia-negocios-y-finanzas/diseno-e-ingenieria/las-bicicletas-del-futuro_oe04bAJ4zY9qK4YrwN4UX1/%5D

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Abellio

I like writing, but I’ve spent most of my life writing about things that don’t particularly interest me. Finally, as I neared the age of 60, I decided to change that. I wanted to write about things that interested me. What really interests me is beauty. So I’ve focused this blog on beautiful things. I could be writing about a formally beautiful object in a museum. But it could also be something sitting quietly on a shelf. Or it could be just a fleeting view that's caught my eye, or a momentary splash of colour-on-colour at the turn of the road. Or it could be a piece of music I've just heard. Or a piece of poetry. Or food. And I’m sure I’ve missed things. But I’ll also write about interesting things that I hear or read about. Isn't there a beauty about things pleasing to the mind? I started just writing, but my wife quickly persuaded me to include photos. I tried it and I liked it. So my posts are now a mix of words and pictures, most of which I find on the internet. What else about me? When I first started this blog, my wife and I lived in Beijing where I was head of the regional office of the UN Agency I worked for. So at the beginning I wrote a lot about things Chinese. Then we moved to Bangkok, where again I headed up my Agency's regional office. So for a period I wrote about Thailand and South-East Asia more generally. But we had lived in Austria for many years before moving to China, and anyway we both come from Europe my wife is Italian while I'm half English, half French - so I often write about things European. Now I'm retired and we've moved back to Europe, so I suppose I will be writing a lot more about the Old Continent, interspersed with posts we have gone to visit. What else? We have two grown children, who had already left the nest when we moved to China, but they still figure from time to time in my posts. I’ll let my readers figure out more about me from reading what I've written. As these readers will discover, I really like trees. So I chose a tree - an apple tree, painted by the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt - as my gravatar. And I chose Abellio as my name because he is the Celtic God of the apple tree. I hope you enjoy my posts. http://ipaintingsforsale.com/UploadPic/Gustav Klimt/big/Apple Tree I.jpg

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