Dear bike (1/5)

Dear bike (1/5)

A friend suggested I write about you and another friend suggested I write about identity and as you and my identity sort of go hand in hand or used to … I thought I’d do as the Germans say ” zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe schlagen “.

So yeh here I am writing to you, my beloved yellow bike of the past. We were unbreakably intertwined for more than four years. When I was a little boy , even though everyone else thought I was a little girl, I loved cycling and I dreamed of becoming a post boy who wold cycle all day long from address to address to deliver letters and chat to the receivers of the post. When I got older I still dreamt of that but that was mostly informed by having read “Angela’s Ashes” in which Frank McCourt does exactly that. The idea of cycling through little villages with a flat-cap and a rain-mac on still feels like a beautiful thought.

I fell off my old bikes too much though to still enjoy the experience. Open knees and legs, painful arms and no knowledge of how to get where and in Berlin the fakeness of the hipster bike rider. But London gave me no choice, transport is to expensive , so after a few borrowed bikes there you were. On the Lis, a boat moored my the shore of Brentford, inhabited by a lovely ginger Kiwi. His girlfriend wanted a new fresh good looking bike and not a weird one, that had been put together from scraps. The beauty of your fabulous 70s frame was lost on her but not on me.

Just like you i was slim, light, fast and “single speed”. Oh how we matched. You were yellow and I was green. You gave me the independence I had been in so much need of. Cycling became part of my identity. You became part of my identity.

So where are you now? What are you doing now? Where is my identity now and what’s it doing? Maybe I should have written a letter to her … her I say because it is ” die Identität” in German … it is female. Odd that is has any gender really. Do females have more identity than males? is having an identity associated with femaleness? I take it females might ponder on it more than males would , but that’s an assumption , and we all know what happens when we assume ( or do we? that’s an assumption again…)

There’s another assumption of mine … which is that when one hates a situation and thinks someone else is making one’s own situation even shitter, then wouldn’t it be smarter to try and change that situation? Why moan and not change? But who am I to say that .. we all do that. Why am I telling you all this?

Questioning is part of my identity too, wondering and pondering. What’s wrong about me? Who defines wrong? and who defines “not wrong” and whose definition is more valid? Or is every opinion valid and real? Tea helps me relax sometimes… but this grapefruit that I just sliced doesn’t help at all.. it’s making me feel even colder.

Random random random … but totally interesting, isn’t it?

When I still had you I talked a lot with you when I rode you from place to place. All my inner monologue was expressed to you, and if I obsessed too much you almost kicked me off to remind me of the fact that I was cycling haha. One time you broke my leg even, you ass. But well … you never got taken away, even when you were locked at Portobello Road ( which is the best road in London anyway .. and always will be … grrr).

I wish I could work out the mysteries of human interaction and not get confused by it so much. How is the word ” communication” defined… can two people define it entirely differently? Why are things that are so logical to me, totally illogical to others? And why do I seem to not understand the basics of human relating? A friend said it’s because I’m German…which sounds a bit odd to me …,but maybe it only sounds odd because I’m German. I do wonder how much is true of what I’ve been told the last two years about German cultural identity and how different I would be if I hadn’t been born into a German context.

How do you feel about that? Do you think you’d be any different if you weren’t a British built bike?… Maybe your bits wouldn’t have ended up on a skip if this wasn’t England so you’d never been put together by Vern. Maybe your frame would have looked differently if it hadn’t been created by a creative Brit in the crazy 70s. What I know about Bristishness is primarily taken from this fabulous book. I’d suggest you read it too … if you could read.. but one needs eyes to read I’d think … or hands if one can’t see and you haven’t got any of these. Funny thought though.

Anyway … I’m procrastinating … are you too? No-one’s riding you now anyway … it’s cold. You’re the bike version of a whippet. I love whippets. I even follow this group. Dear me it’s cold.

Thanks for listening,

Thoughts on lockdown

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