cycling · Guest Post

Goodbye, hello! (Guest post)

by Eleanor Brown

 

1

It was red. There was a little bit of orange in the colour, but not too much.

Second-hand, and on sale, a big rig for a big gal, reassuringly heavy, a solid commuter bicycle for a middle-aged sort who had not been on a two-wheeler in a while. It’s beautiful.

Almost immediately, the brakes started to give me trouble.

 

2

I loved the bike.

Spring, summer and fall, I spent at least an hour on it, daily.

In the winter, the brakes froze. The front wheel was rarely true. It had 21 speeds, but I never switched it from the initial setting.

Once, I wiped out on ice rather than hit a car. The bike survived better than I.

Displaying Bike1.jpg

3

Raleigh bicycles used to be high end. Not anymore. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The company was founded in 1887 in England. Much later, it built a manufacturing plant in my home in the Eastern Townships, in Quebec. One hundred small-town residents had jobs there.

In 2013, those employees assembled 135,000 bicycles.

The plant closed forever soon after.

 

4

I started spending more and more money on the bike.

 

5

I bought a stationary bicycle, putting the bright-red Raleigh away in winter.

Spring always returns. I pulled the Raleigh out of the garage, pumped up the tires, oiled the chain and buffed the paint.

It rained torrents for days.

Saturday, as the sun peeked out, I excitedly took it out for the season’s first real ride.

I was happy. The itinerary included a diner, second breakfast.

Within a block, I discovered the front wheel was pushing against the brake pad. Even after a half-hour, I couldn’t fix it.

Walked home.

6

I have a new bicycle.

It’s grey. There’s a little bit of black trim around the edges, but not too much.

I bought it new, and on sale, a big rig for a big gal, reassuringly heavy, a solid commuter bicycle for a middle-aged sort who has not been on a proper two-wheeler in a while. It’s beautiful.

I’m stripping the Raleigh for parts.

Displaying Bike2.jpg

Eleanor Brown is a freelance writer living in Sherbrooke, Quebec. She’s a former managing editor of Pink Triangle Press’ flagship publication, Xtra, in Toronto, and the former editor of a daily newspaper, the Sherbrooke Record. She can be reached at ebjourno at gmail.com.

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