I’ve done about 270 miles this weekend, and I wish I could say that was by bike. Nope, that was me driving down to London and back to pick up a load of my sister’s accumulated ‘stuff’ to bring back home before she makes the big move to Nuremberg in a couple of weeks. I hate driving in London, I hate breathing in London, I hate being in London. I hate London. Still it suits certain people and my sister is one of those. She has trendy friends and knows all the little niche places that no non-native would know about. I remember once when I visited her I had to get a costume for fancy dress and she knew a vintage shop that was literally round the corner from the utterly random place I’d happened to asked her, and that wasn’t pure luck. She’s got the knowledge.
I did finally get to see her bike, and must admit to being a tad disappointed. It’s a Raleigh which is late 80s or 90s judging from the badge, painted black in a noticably unprofessional way, a single-speed with a freewheel and some non-original mudguards. The problem with the crank was just a loose cotter pin, and I really can’t see why the bike shops she’s been taking it to couldn’t have fixed it pretty quick. I’d like to say I fixed it, but had neither the tools nor the parts nor the time so it’s still as it was. The handlebars were very nice though, porteurs set facing down in a path-racer style. I complimented her on the ding-dong bell “yeah, you bought me that bell a couple of years ago!”
Well, my time in London has at least given me a few bikes to look at to get some ideas for bike #2. It’s going to be single-speed for now, with the minimum of fuss and hopefully some 27″ wheels. I’ll save the Sturmey Archer three-speed hub I bought for later. I’m going to try and get some similar handlebars to my sister’s and keep all accessories to a minimum. Bike #1 meanwhile, has acquired the name Crichton, named after the the central character in JM Barrie’s play The Admirable Crichton which was made into a classic British film in 1957. Crichton is a loyal butler who is shipwrecked along with his master and various others, but turns out to be the only one who knows what to do and so becomes the master (or ‘Guv’ as they call him) himself, until they are rescued and everything goes back to normal. It’s a great little film.