I inherited my brother’s bicycle when he bought a motorcycle. I was quite thrilled for I had a set of wheels to take me places. Usually, if I wanted to go anywhere I had to take the bus or walk. With the bicycle, I had much more freedom and I did not have to spend money on bus fare.
So the first thing I did was to pedal the bicycle to show off to my friends in the neighbourhood. They were also thrilled and took turns riding the bicycle. It was fun riding this ultra-light five-speed machine. It could go pretty fast. The pleasure of feeling the wind against my face as I pedalled as hard as I could be simply great. Ah, my legs were young and strong and I could pedal for hours all over town and out of town as well.
The first Monday morning after I was given the bicycle, I rode it to school. Naturally, my schoolmates were green with envy. The sleek red racer was quite a sight to behold especially for young children. I felt quite proud of just riding it. I imagined that I was a hot-shot cyclist being cheered by adoring fans.
Those were indeed pleasures of owning the bicycle. I never ever imagined that there could be any pain in ownership. Anyway, I had to learn this. The first painful lesson occurred right after school that first day.
Making someone green with envy was not such a good thing, for that someone slashed both my bicycle tyres with a sharp object. It appeared that someone tried to steal the bicycle for the lock was tampered with. Fortunately, it held and so that someone out of frustration must have done the job on my tyres.
So I had to push my bicycle to the shop to have the inner tubes and tyres changed. They could not be repaired for they were too badly slashed. The cost of the tyres and tubes set me back quite a bit. I had to go to the bank to withdraw some savings in order to pay for them.
Lesson number two occurred while I was riding one day. Suddenly a car swerved into my path and I had to take evasive action to avoid a collision. I managed to do so but in the process; crashed into a drain. By the time I picked myself up the car had disappeared. Sol stood there fuming. The outs and bruises sustained from the crash were nothing compared to the anger that 1 felt at the hit-and-run driver. If I had been killed, that driver might have got away with murder.
These two incidents taught me the harsh realities of owning a bicycle. Firstly there are always thieves just waiting to take it, and secondly, there are road-users who do not care the slightest for cyclists. So now I always chain up my bicycle when I leave it unattended, and I am very very careful on the road. It is a pleasure to ride a bicycle. There is no doubt about that. However, I have to take steps to prevent the pains from recurring.
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