Today I revisited a long forgotten and yet enjoyable pastime, namely that of tinkering with bicycles. My first proper experiences of mechanical things were all bicycle related, and it has generally stood me in good stead. In fact, dismantling, fettling and reassembling bikes should probably be a compulsory part of the national curriculum. That it isn’t, was amply displayed by the sheer amount of fettling that this new steed required.
The previous owner had displayed an admirable lack of self preservation, in his ability to travel largely without the aid of brakes and on tyres that were as old as the bicycle itself.
Of course now my ‘bargain’ transport has already managed to absorb as much expense as it cost originally, but does at least travel on friendlier tyres, with brakes that work, hubs that are greased and gears whose cables aren’t held together by single strands of hope.
My brief experiences of cycling in Edinburgh the other week convinced me that cycling is infinitely more relaxing once you are a)not doing so in traffic and b)festooned with lights. Hence I fully aim to make the most of the local footpaths, whatever the law has to say, but to do so with all the illumination normally found on a fairground ride.
Next stop is a bike trailer, which if I’d had any sense I would have made at school when I had the chance. I wonder if kids even get the chance to make stuff like this at school any more? Perhaps cycle fettling really should be made compulsory….

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