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Bradford Lad: Wheels In Motion

Which is more important, the boy or the bike?

Mike Coatesworth tells a boyhood tale.

At the start of that particular school holiday my friends and I learned how to ride two-wheel cycles. The hard part is to ensure that the bike is stable and to keep it going in a straight line.

We soon managed to figure it out, then the more we rode the braver we became. We rode up and down the avenue as fast as we could. Of course there was the occasional fall, but we got up and carried on.

After a few falls my brother started showing off in front of his friends. He went to the top of the avenue then came back, pedalling as fast as his legs would allow. His head was down and his legs were going fifty to the dozen. One moment he was speeding along, the ne3xt he collided with a garden fence.

The accident seemed to happen in slow motion. He was flying through the air, screaming, his arms still stretched out in front of him. Then he was rolling over and over on the grass.

We watched in silence, mouths open wide. Then, as though responding to a starting pistol, we rushed over to see what damage had been done, not to my brother but to the shared cycle.

Its front wheel, clearly buckled, was wedged between fence slats. The rest of the machine seemed to be okay. We were relieved that our precious cycle was not wrecked, reassured in the knowledge that we had a spare wheel to replace the damaged one.

My brother?

He had a few bumps, bruises and tears, but my aunt sorted him out and he was soon riding again.


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