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A short true story with a moral

Many bicycles were ridden to the works where David had started life as an engineering apprentice. He rode the same machine he used to race at weekends. His meagre income had been invested in it since the day he first got work. The frame was specially measured for him and built of the best steel tubing available. the best, despite post-war shortages. chainrings, sprockets, brakes bars, and more were added and , when money was available, improved. Post box red, a real beauty; the pride and joy and means of recreation and transport of a young man setting off on the journey of life as an adult.

Then it was stolen. It disappeared from the yard at the works. With it went money. With it went life. The bike had gone. His bike. no markings to suggest the builder, no sign that it was his. Only it was; his money, his desires his skill.

When a man came into a bike shop close by the Cathedral asking the owner about having his bike repainted, the owner priced it up. "Blue, I think. That one," said the man, pointing at a chart. He left, with the bakeshop owner calling, "It will be back in a couple of weeks."

On Sunday morning, David could not take part in the club's early season ten mile time-trial. Others offered him use of a bike when they had done, but it could never be the same. Back at square one. It is hard when having just set out you find yourself sent back to where you had started.

As he waited and spoke with his friends about iniquity, a man they all knew approached. after all, all of them went to bike shops. He looked at David. "Are you ill? Not like you to miss this?"

They told him of the outrage.

Bicycle chain ring Chater Lea paint job

"What colour would you like your bike, David?" The man they all knew asked with a smile.

An on-looker reprimanded him. "This is no laughing matter."

"Post box red. Just like me old one."

"I'll keep an eye out. See what might come up."

Two weeks passed.

"Ah, your bike's done."

The man handed over the payment, but when the bike was brought through the workshop door at the rear of the shop, it was the wrong colour.

"That's not the colour I wanted!"

"But it is the colour the owner wanted; I asked him."

So, the bike went back to David, and the man was accompanied to the police station by the constable who had heard it all through the open workshop door.

It emerged that the man had a lock-up with a hundred stolen bikes in it.

David returned to work and racing. Whether he bought a stronger lock or not, I do not know.

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