I remember vividly getting my very first (& only) ‘new‘ bike as a child. It was a crisp Christmas morning in the mid 1970’s. I hadn’t asked for a bike, mainly as I wasn’t able to ride one, so the thought never entered my head. Plus everything else of that ilk that I’d been given were all hand-me-downs from my older cousins and/or brother. So when I entered the living room that morning, I never gave the bike a second glance, as I assumed it wasn’t for me. I was absolutely gobsmacked when my dad said it was mine.
It was a Raleigh Tempo (or at least that’s what I think it was called). Beautiful, sleek curving frame finished in metallic British Racing Green with white-wall tyres, and it was stunning – a real 1950’s throwback. Similar to the bike in the photo above. Similar in looks – but with one crucial design flaw (which I wouldn’t discover until I’d ridden it several times). The main crossbar split into two from the handlebar socket, with each separate piece going either side of the seat rod (with terminology like this – I expect you’ve guessed that I’m no bicycle guru).
So when my backside flew off the seat and I experienced the groin carnage expressed in my poem (which I’m sure the men reading will be all too familiar with); my testicles slotted between the two curved crossbars, I slid forward, the gap narrowed and my poor little plumbs were very nearly removed in an excruciating pincer action. That was the precise moment I discovered just how evil the design flaw of the Raleigh Tempo frame was (probably the work of a sadistic feminist extremist). To make matters worse, when I attempted to get up off the ground, the bike was still attached, like some kind of cumbersome and freakish scrotum adornment. A forerunner for the male equivalent of the vagazzle perhaps…
It was a long time before I was able to test whether or not I’d been sterilised. Fortunately, the wedding tackle worked well enough when it was required in later life.
So as it’s world poetry day, I thought I’d do my bit to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression – by sharing a poem about my childhood cycling mishap with the world. A good and fitting tribute I believe. I hope you agree.
My 1st BikeThe best damn bike – I’d ever seen Metallic paint – British Racing Green Retro Styled – built for fun, not speed A fine design – very fine indeed Out for a spin – to the shops and back In a short time – I’d got the knack Down the hill – wasn’t even trying But man alive – I was really flying What’s that – a bloody cat! Waved my arms – shouted “SCAT!” The dumb thing froze – like a dust mop Yanked on the anchors – rapid stop Slammed down hard – on the cross-bar White hot pain – testicular trauma Truth be told – I’m no wimp But to this day – I walk with a limp