Sunday, 1 April 2012


You may recall my extreme delight at cycling the streets of Berlin on Bessy, my rusty velocipede, despite her many failings.

Well, sadly, Bessy wore out her novelty faster that I thought possible. I'm a pretty patient fellow and easygoing (or lazy) enough to put up with a lot of faults. However, in this case, it all became too much. She had to be put out of my misery. 

Bessy's handlebars were becoming increasingly unresponsive, with every turn further loosening the precarious connection between the head tube and the front forks. I had taken to slowly leaning my way around corners, relying on the roll of the tyres, rather than actually turning the handlebars properly. The risk that I would have to turn suddenly to avoid something - a turd or oncoming bus, say; both of which are everywhere - was becoming far too large.

Not only was a turn of the handlebars not guaranteed to cause a similar turn in the wheels, the connection to the stem was so loose that the cruiser bars would gradually rotate around while riding, shifting from an upright sweep into a poor-man's backward drop-bars. I already looked stupid enough riding this claptrap, so this was an unwelcome addition.

The light generator had gone from intermittent screech machine to wholly kaput dead weight.

The weights on the one-sided pedals got munted somehow, and automatically rotated to present the round-side up-side every blimming time I took my feet off the pedals, which was uncomfortable, slippery dangerous and damn annoying. 

So, it's out to the hof with you, missy! 

Now, I welcome Jefferson into my life. Jefferson is a box-fresh folding bike from the UK, where bikes are much more affordable. (Even the heavy clunkers for sale at Lidl supermarkets, which would be the equivalent of a Red Dot bicycle in Perth, cost more.)

so manly
For those of you who may think that I have taken the easy option and bought a risk-free London suit's bike, rather than sticking it out, and risking my neck, with a true Berliner's rad, let me present you with the following conundrum: I have truly become very good at steering a bike with shitty steering (the trick is to take it slow and gentle, as you would with a first-time lover). Will I now steer shittily while trying to steer a bike with good steering?

Well, having ridden it for a while now, the astonishing answer is 'no'. But wait until you see the amazing folding capabilities! This is one rad Rad. 
Think of the money I'll save on rainproofing the seat with plastic bags!
I don't know if it's magic, clever structural engineering or just really brilliant origami. Whatever the case, I am impressed and a little bit astounded.

Now if only I could get the children to stop laughing at me as I cycle by.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you're safe, although felt a little sad for Bessie.