Slice Of Life Story Challenge March 1 - A Bike Sighting

#slice 2013As I walked this morning, I passed a discarded bicycle that someone had placed on the roadside outside their house in the hope that a passerby might feel a need to acquire a extra set of wheels. The bike in question was somewhat forlorn looking though. The colour lacked any lustre, the spokes had no sparkle -and more importantly, this begrimed bike, was missing a seat.
The sight of the shabby cycle, evoked an instant memory. My mind went pedaling back some twenty years. It’s like that in the writer’s mind…

Back then I was riding a bike clearly designed by a committee. Bits and pieces cobbled together from assorted bicycles to create a machine of questionable quality. At that time my wife, Vicki and I did a lot of riding with the kids along ‘Nunn’s Walk’ near our house. Nunn’s Walk is a track that winds through the coastal bush-land overlooking Port Philip Bay. It is favoured by dog walkers, runners and amblers alike, providing spectacular views across the water at various points along its winding pathway.

On one particular occasion as we rode in single file strung out along the bushy track, I felt the seat on my shabby machine slip forward, tilt downward and finally completely detach from the bike.  I stopped riding immediately. I had little in the way of alternatives at that point. My position was precarious. Jane, then aged 9,  who was following me following me stopped too. I retrieved the seat from the nearby scrubby bushes and began looking for nuts and screws in order to reattach it. Jane kindly informed me, ‘I’ll ride ahead and tell Mum what has happened.’
‘Okay,’ I said still searching the ground for the missing parts. Jane quickly rode off into the distance leaving me to continue searching. I finally found the scattered bike bits, but when I turned to where I had left the seat, it was no longer there. Strange, I thought- and then reality dawned. Jane had taken the seat with her to show her mother that the situation was indeed serious. In her hot little hand, she held undeniable evidence. -Evidence that put the issue beyond doubt. Now the bike and the seat were conclusively separated and I was left to ponder the situation. 

It seemed to me, stranded as I was on the side of the track, that an eternity passed before, my fellow bike riders re-appeared to gaze upon my sad seat situation. Jane apologized, Vicki and Tim, Jane’s brother laughed and I tried to smile. Seat re-attached the bike ride resumed…

About 100 metres from home, my fabricated machine, finally gave up forever. In one horrendous moment, the chain disengaged, the front wheel collapsed and I went sprawling over the handlebars and onto the roadway. Splat! Bang onto the unforgiving bitumen, the handlebars gouging a sizable chunk from my leg. It was if the bike had disintegrated. 
Like the bike, I saw this morning, that old bike, was immediately consigned to the scrapheap.  It was clearly time to buy a new bike. 


  1. Alan,
    I smiled as I read your reminded me of a similar time when my brother was riding his bike down the hill where we grew up and the front section broke away from the middle section and he went flying off the bike-it was an ugly scene after it happened...luckily you didn't crash!
    Oh, the bike stories! Could write a book on those! Hey, that's an idea!

  2. Alan,
    The craft of this piece delighted me this morning. I love the sounds and descriptions. They brought to mind a rather cacophonous crash I had on my bike as an adult. Turning a corner, my handlebars nicked the cables that were strung from telephone pole to ground. I was flipped from the bike. Funny now, painful then. I wonder what bike stories my students could share?

  3. Your bike story could indeed be the impetus for a collection of wonderful memories - on bikes - at any age!

  4. Isn't it funny how some objects can stir such vivid memories. At first I was indignant that some seat thief had snatched your seat, but then I laughed when you revealed it was your daughter. At least the demise of your bike was close to home. Fun story Alan!

  5. Great chuckle this morning, Alan. You have a great way of taking a moment and letting us all into the scene.

  6. Alan,
    I love your stories, the humor and whimsy weave together and make me smile. I was particularly drawn to the way you crafted the lead and used words that demanded I read them out loud. So glad you are writing again this month. I hope someday we can talk in person, perhaps on a walk.

  7. "My mind went pedaling back..." An apt introduction to a slice filled with just the right words to paint a picture of memory and amusement.

    It is a sure sign of quality writing when readers are inspired to try out their own similar stories. I particularly appreciate how you shared the original inspiration for this story--the seat, the missing seat, is such a great visual link.


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