Trouble with the youngest

Trouble with the youngest

SORRY TO HEAR you’re having trouble with the youngest,” the sales rep commented on overhearing a conversation about my tumble on the Alan, “how many do you have?” “Thirteen” I replied.

He seemed surprised. “You started early so, when did you marry?” Now my turn to be quizzical. ‘What does that have to do with anything?’ I thought, the pain making me sigh. “You both survived the crash though?” he inquired. “I don’t know, my Alan never came back from West Cork.”

He began to make allowances knowing I had fallen on my head. “You were with your child, no?” “Oh Beth! Thank God, she’s fine” The line went quiet. “Hello?” I tried. “Who’s Alan?” he replied softly.

The ‘Alan’ is my youngest bike. Clinging on to its twenties in fact. A rarity in its day. Bonded aluminium, screwed and glued, which is a lot better than it sounds. On the Alan I had my recent tumble, but its name continues to give fun. When I found the frame I researched the brand, model and age. I searched online cycling fora on how to date Alan frames. ‘Who is Alan Frames, and is he so much of a nightmare to date that you need to ask us lot for advice?’ read a light-hearted reply.

Light too is the Alan. Their use of alloy, and later carbon, made them amongst the lightest of the 1970s and 1980s. With the right parts, a full bike weighs less than 10kg. Impressive.

They say now that it takes €1000 to reduce every kilogram from a bike. Another €3000 to get me to my club standards so, but sure on that measure I’d still be a few thousand to the good due to my recent A&E weight loss regime.

The Alan is yet to return from the scene of the crime. I fear the worst, and as a wise and prudent precaution, aided by morphine and Ebay, I have invested in another, for the price of 250grams. Yes, grey matter may also be part of my recent weight loss, but after losing such weight I have decided to go lightweight myself. Sure, isn’t it common after a crash to lose some of your steel?

Vintage bikes for sale. Anybody?

Brendan Hennessy

Old Velos
Brendan and his Alan – Photo credit: Rory O’Toole

“The Trouble with the Youngest” is one of a collection of heart-warming short stories available in a book of the same name.

The book is available to purchase here.

Old Velos

About Brendan Hennessy

The idea of this collection of short pieces on cycling arose as I lay in bed recuperating from a bicycle crash and is drawn from writing on club and vintage cycling events from over the years, as well as the odd foray into fictional races and events. It is written in thanks to my family and our friends who helped us after the crash. BH, June 2016