Last week, while recovering from his surgery, Lucas made a list of all the parts needed to repair and service my bike.
I’ve been riding it now for almost 15 and a half years – I know this exactly, because I bought it from our local bike shop, just at the end of the street. There it was in the window one day, and although I hadn’t ridden a bike – had avoided them even – since my accident, I could see that if I was ever getting back in the saddle, this was the bike for the job. It was black, shiny and heavy, and looked solid. I wanted a test ride. The lady from the bike shop held baby Lucas as I wobbled uncertainly round the forecourt. How old is he? she called, and I called back: 6 months! – and I remember it clearly, as I was trying to sweep round the corner and wasn’t sure if I could chat as well without falling off.
I bought it the next day, and when Alex came home, there it was, in the living room, with me, grinning and hugging myself with excitement. I practiced round and round the park for days – just riding at first, then signalling again and again, taking one nervous hand off the handlebars at a time. Eventually, I got it rock solid, and after a while of practice rides further afield, I bought a baby seat for Lucas so he could come too. So that’s how I know how long I’ve had it – it was quite the milestone event.
It’s never been serviced, poor bike, and it’s certainly put in the time and the miles. As soon as Lucas’ box of parts – cables, tyres, inner tubes and bolts arrived, he was straight out to the shed to make a start. It took him a few days, but he was happy as anything tinkering away at it, and it was good active recovery from the op. He definitely has the skill now – and the heft – to make competent repairs, and even bought and fitted new handle grips for me. Chestnut coloured leather. I am an accidental hipster.
I took it out today for the first time. I had planned to go to the park, but there was a frantic text about a forgotten PE kit, so I changed course and went up to school instead. It was raining, but I didn’t care.
It was wonderful – good as new!