Tag Archives: bicycle

1881. Cross that bridge

It was inevitable, when Zelda said she didn’t believe in trolls, that something terrible would happen.

She didn’t have to say it just prior to leaving for a bicycle ride with her twelve year old daughter and ten year old son. We shall cycle up the valley on that old dirt road. There are three ancient bridges and wild terrain to see. And what is more, it might be uphill on the way there, but it’s downhill all the way home.

“But what if there are trolls under the bridges?” said ten year old Mario.

“I don’t believe in trolls,” said Zelda. And that was the invitation to disaster.

Off they went! Heading for the hills! Heading for the old dirt road with lots of ancient bridges and no trolls!

They had barely crossed the first bridge when Chiara got a puncture in the back tyre. “That’s no matter,” said practical Zelda who had brought her puncture-fixing kit in her haversack.

Before long the puncture was fixed. Off they went! The second bridge was a little more dangerous. It was a very old bridge used years ago by the forestry trucks. It had no sides. It crossed a narrow ravine with a ribbon of river far, far below. Mario’s wheel got stuck in a crack between the bridge planks. He fell off his bike and almost plunged over the side. Thank goodness he didn’t plummet into the ravine. His jammed bike was rescued. Off they went!

The third and final bridge was crossed without an event.

“Time for the homeward journey,” said Zelda, turning her bike around. “See! No trolls!”

Will that stupid woman never learn? Apparently all hell broke loose somewhere between the third and first bridge.

1760. Penny-farthing excursions

I saved up money for a considerable time to purchase a penny-farthing. My wife wanted a new set of pots for the kitchen, but first things first. Nearly every male of age in this town is out and about on their penny-farthing every Sunday afternoon. My wife wanted to try riding it and I said, “Goodness me no, darling. Not in that dress!” Before one could blink the hem of her skirt would get tangled in the spokes of the wheel. And what a disaster! How very unlady-like! Of course, it would be my entire fault letting a woman onto what is clearly designed for the male anatomy. It’s a bit like riding a horse. But on a horse women ride side-saddle, and one could hardly expect a woman to ride side-saddle on a penny-farthing. How would one peddle?

The first time I went out (of course I’d been practising my balance in the backyard behind the house) I went with three friends on a Sunday jaunt. Such freedom! Such speed! The second time I went out was the last. I was with a larger group. We bicycled I suppose ten miles into the country and back. It was a wonderful experience.

As I said, that was the last time I went out on the penny-farthing. I wouldn’t be seen dead on it these days. You see, my wife and her so-called emancipated friends made fun of my tight pants.

1306. Things to sort through

There were quite a few things to sort through after Ivan died. The funeral was over a month ago, and Maureen knew that at some stage she would have to face the music and go through his things. They had never married, but had been together for twenty-two years. Everyone presumed they were married. Ivan had never popped the question. Children even called Maureen “Mrs Doubroff” although legally her name was “Winters”.

Maureen had hand-written replies to all the cards, flowers and condolence letters she had received. She had bought a box of thank you cards, and wrote in each, “Thank you so much for your kind thoughts and heartfelt wishes during my sad loss.” She would have liked to have written “Thank you for your kind and prayerful thoughts” but who knows these days who is atheistic and who is not?

Ivan had died in a bicycle accident on a Saturday afternoon. He always went for a long bicycle ride every Saturday afternoon, even if it was raining. Maureen had no interest whatsoever in riding a bike. Saturday afternoon was “her time”, “her space”. She had told him to wear a safety helmet, but, oh no! he wanted to feel the wind as his bicycle raced down the steep hill.

The worst bit of sorting through his things was to be his backpack. He always took a little haversack with him on his cycle rides. It probably contained a bite to eat mid-afternoon or maybe something to read on a break from cycling. Or even his camera. He had the haversack on his back when he crashed headfirst into a tree on the steep hill attempting to avoid a dog.

Maureen opened the pack. Indeed, there was an old anthology of short stories by Flannery O’Connor. And his camera. Maureen downloaded the last photographs he took onto her computer.

Oh dear. Oh goodness me. Maureen had no idea. She felt quite sick. Maureen pressed the delete button. It was a secret she carried to her grave.