November 22, 2004


Recently, I wrote about how my bicycle had caused me premature aging, until I worked on it with some oil and a pump of air. Worse was yet to come!!!

Two weeks ago, I noticed that not only were the back brakes utterly beyond repair, but also the front tyre had disintegrated to the point of revealing the inner tube. On top of this, the seat had also split because of sun-baking, which then meant that rain was thoroughly absorbed into the sponge beneath. This had the "pleasant" effect of making me look like I had wet myself once I arrived at my destination.

In short, my bicycle - my two-wheeled companion of so many years - was DEAD! The cost to repair it went way beyond the price for a new bicycle. There was no choice: A brand new mean-machine was required.

I visited a nearby department store, and was struck by a collection of beautiful bicycles... with baskets. In any other country other than Japan, such beasts of burden would have been considered... well... effeminate. However, here there are no such prejudices towards an alpha male (something I am definitely not), riding on such a prissy vehicle. Besides, the price was what I wanted to pay.

Among the yellow and lilac cycles, a red one seemed the less male-offensive, so I asked the smirking shop clerk for her assistance in readying it for me. Oh, how happy I was to at last have a new road-killer. Surely, I would be the envy of everyone, riding this little charmer.

The money was exchanged and I rolled her out into the sunlight beyond the shop's strobes. OH, SWEET JESUS, SAY IT ISN'T SO!!! As natural light bathed my new bicycle, utter horror fell upon me. A unique pinkness permeated the entire frame, making it not just a basket fiend, but a bike that only Mary Poppins would feel happy riding! What I thought was red under the fluorescent light of the shop, turned out to be a VERY feminine pink.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am all for getting in touch with my feminine side, but it's humiliating riding by local Japanese lads on silver bikes, whilst looking like Julie Andrews! There was also no comfort to be had from the consoling gesture of a young Japanese lady, who described my bike as "cherry"! It's all so desperately horrible.

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