Monday, September 03, 2018

FAREWELL TO A DREAM MACHINE


I changed my mind, and that’s all it took – all it takes, perhaps – to lose a cherished possession.
It was Saturday afternoon, time to leave the keyboard to cycle into the country for exercise. I’d follow a familiar route south through Surrey, which would be good for the eyes and more, then back after an hour or so.
Going north offers wonderful scenery, too, pleasant roads, and a Swedish shop that offers coffee filter papers at a good price.
I needed some, and so at the very last moment, I changed my mind and decided to visit King Henry VIII's favourite shopping town – Kingston.

PACKED WITH CYCLES

A highly scenic cycle ride along the Thames, then a madly busy city packed with cycles proving how amazingly the passion for pedalling is increasing.
So many bikes were about, it seemed an age before I found space to squeeze in on one of the shopping area’s very many cycle stands. I locked the bike in place, gave the Boardman Road Pro Carbon wonder an admiring glance. Getting the filter paper took perhaps ten minutes.
I returned. The bike had vanished - gone awol, spirited away, stolen. I couldn’t believe it. I refused to believe it. I searched neighbouring bike stands, combed adjoining streets almost like a demented parent who has mislaid a child.
I assume bike thieves saw me arrive, watched me walk away, and used their gadgetry to snip the lock and make off with my dream machine.

MASS THEFT?

Perhaps the marvel was one of many stolen that day. However, the notion of mass theft doesn’t lessen the shock and the tremendous feeling of loss. Of course, ordinarily a struggling writer would never be able to afford such a machine.
However, a Halfords' bike sale in the winter of 2015 and a handsome promotional offer that New Year by the gym I've used for years made it just possible.
If you should see that great bike around, do please be in touch – paul@wordwright.org . How perfect if you could take a photo of the thief.
The strange feeling that took hold of me felt the opposite of the overwhelming elation that swamped teenage veins when I took possession of my first motorbike, a Triumph Speedtwin. Nearly a lifetime divides the two - one decidedly deafening and this loss of love desperately sad, almost as if a dear one has been plucked suddenly from the planet.
I waited in an old-fashioned way at the local police station to report the theft. Seems that’s not the thing anymore. After a long uneventful time staring at a wall, I followed a poster’s advice and returned home to register the loss online. The reply did not exactly bristle with hope of a reunion.
Continues on the blogs for my ocean travel book, Sailing to Purgatory, at SailingToPurgatory.com

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