Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New bike!

Hi Bloggers,

Well, here goes again. I've bought another expensive bike (above). Third time lucky, I hope! The last two both got stolen, i.e. the Mongoose and the Gary Fisher. Every one had told me that Bahrain was virtually crime free, so I confidently parked my bike outside my apartment block at night (locked, of course). It took thieves a mere two months to discover it and duly one morning I experienced that horrible sinking feeling you get when you realise you've been robbed. You always try to kid yourself there's some logical explanation. The apartment administration have moved it for security reasons or something absurd like that. Or you parked it somewhere different last night. Or you'll suddenly find it just around the corner. Such is the nature of human hope and optimism. That said, thank God we do have hope. It's such a basic and important human emotion. Once people lose hope, then surely they are lost.

The top picture is the new bike. Probably the best of the three, it even has disc brakes, so you get none of that terrible squeaking when it's wet. It's also got nice click into place Shimano Tourney gears. 21 in all, though, to be quite honest, I can never understand why they bother with that small one at the front. If you use it, you go so slow, you might just as well get off and walk! That's not my apartment, by the way, but the foyer outside the reception area. I don't have my own pool table, unfortunately!

The yellow bike is the Gary Fisher I had stolen here in Bahrain. I'd even had it specially shipped over from Thailand. That, incidently, is the view from my lovely 14th floor flat in central Bangkok. At the end of the day, I probably miss the flat more than I do the bike.

Finally, here's the Mongoose (below), which I had stolen from right outside the British Council in Bangkok. I wouldn't be surprised if it was the security guard himself. One day I locked it in the wrong place. He was very quick to put his own lock around it and demand 300 baht (ca $10). No tickets or anything. Presumably the money went straight into his pocket. That's the Chao Praya river I'm standing in front of.

Anyway, keeping my fingers crossed this time!



The Fulminator said...

Looks considerably cooler than my eight-year old Raleigh Firefly (the last one was stolen from our back garden in London - I heard the little bastards doing it, but couldn't get out of the bath quick enough). Given that it was set up for a 6ft 5in tall man, I wondered afterwards how they'd managed to get it home without drawing attention to themselves. Of course, there aren't any police on the streets to notice and we're all far to scared to accost teenage thugs who may very well be carrying knives.

As I was cycling off to Acton for a poetry reading event the other evening, it struck me that very few people of our age used to ride bikes (out of choice) when we were nippers - but then, I doubt they had anything as sophisticated as a 21-gear Strike Sports special to tickle their fancy. My first bike was gearless!

Apropos of nothing, a colleague of mine at the BBC, - 6' 7" and 20 stone plus (and a vegetarian!) - used to own some fantastically expensive space-age bike which advertised itself as unbreakable. Every year, it would eventually buckle under his weight and he'd be presented with a brand new one. This made him happy.

Last point - does it rain regularly in Bahrain (given your "squeking when wet" comment)???

tropicalrob said...

Believe it or not, it does occasionally rain here in Bahrain. In fact, just last week we had a whole day of rain, which caused some serious flooding. But it's only around this time of year, December - January. Day time temperatures can even dip to as low as 15C. But even if it's not wet you can still get that horrible squeaking sound on your brakes, meaning you have to fiddle around and readjust them, etc.

I know what you mean about not daring to approach teenage thugs. And the police are completely useless. Back in the '90s, before I went out to Asia to work as a teacher, I had a humble postman job for a couple of years, and was actually assaulted by one guy, after being bitten by his dog (I think he was a drug dealer). Down at the police station they treated me in that bored matter of fact kind of way unique to the police, and then told me there was nothing they could do because he hadn't drawn blood! And that, even though I had a witness and was providing an important service to the community. No wonder people don't bother reporting things to the police! That was SW6, by the way.

But back to cycling, it's a great way of staying fit and keeping the metabolism nicely ticking over. It's nice to be out in the fresh air too (when you're away from the traffic, that is!)