Newsletter - 2001 Archive

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A Christmas Gift from my Bike

Ian Stephen


When asked 'Why do you ride a bike?', I usually answer with words about keeping fit, experiencing the journey more fully, saving money, saving the planet and having fun. Had I been asked the day after my Christmas holidays though, I would have given a simpler answer.

You see, I got a new computer for Christmas. As an electrician I sometimes work in office environments where many people, mostly women, work at computers. They are all cold, so they plug in little heaters and overload the circuits and everything shuts off as the breakers trip. I thought that this was just one of the tragic things about women because I have a woman at home and she is always cold too. These women would want more power for their heaters and I would say, "Yes dear" because that works at home.

Then Christmas came and I got a new computer. Seductive the computer is. The things it can do! Those three little words 'You have mail.' Just like in the movie! I hardly slept, hardly ate, just sat there with my new love and endless cups of coffee and explored.

I'm not sure when it happened, but I started to wear socks in the house. Then long sleeved shirts. Then, when no one was looking, I even nudged up the thermostat! Still I was cold. Was I sick? Had all the insulation in the house gone to squirrel nests? What could be making me so cold?

Finally the day came when I had to go back to work. I took a look at my bike. Sand coated it from bottom bracket to top tube. The rear tire was flat. The chain was rusty! My poor darling bike. It hadn't been touched in nearly two weeks! How could I have neglected it so?

Then I understood why I was so cold. Why all those computer women were so cold. It felt like the moment near the end of the story, when the Grinch hears the 'Whos' singing and his heart grows three sizes. That day I rode just to get warm again.