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