(To be read with this music.)
I have a beautiful retro-bike. Designed for girls. From which advantages I profit. I call it my Taxi-Fahrrad, because it has the same color of the taxis in Germany. That was the decisive reason to buy it. Since it is a designer-bike, you cannot buy it anymore, and two years ago it was available just in that concept store. I take it that they sold just a bunch of bikes like mine, perhaps two or three, since I never saw a similar one in the concept-store again. But one sunny day I discovered my bike's twin, chained at the entrance of Nordbahnhof. I would have liked to get in touch with the girl who drives it daily, and everytime when I go to that train station -like last Thursday- I fancy to meet her. But I haven't seen her again.
Talking about girls and bikes, let's Momo Kapor tells us something. In a stupid way, I cut the text off a magazine without the page with a very sexy drawing by him and without the tittle of the following text, but I am almost sure that it comes from his "Guide to the Serbian Mentality".
by Momo Kapor
If I die tomorrow, I would regret only one thing - a bike! By the time I earned enough money to buy a solid bike, my buddies had already bought cars and so, you see, they had never actually bought bikes. Whenever I wanted to feed my eyes on these tamed wiry beasts, I would go to the city of Subotica - in front of Town Hall there are dozens of rows of bikes from my youth. Dusy "Triumps", worn-out Italian "Adrilas" and repaired "Biancis", dull and robust German "Wanderers", reliable "Durkops", solid English "Torpedoes", and the darling of Vojvodina's plane and dusty roads, the "Partizan" - they are all grouped there waiting for their owners to finish talking about the harvest and the price of corn, or to have a drop at the "Bela Lajda" for a glass of beer... And just as today people praise their cars, bicyclists once used to tap the gouvernail and testify to their bikes' "excellent transmission"! Today, seducers walk along the street clinking the keys of their sport cars. A genuine seducer differed from other males because the right cuff of his trousers was pegged! This meant that his bike was parked in front of a bar!
For those born in the post-bike era, I must explain that a peg protected the trouser leg from being chewed by the cog and chain. Pegs belonged mostly to that common kind, the wooden clothes-pegs you see on clotheslines, but there were also metal ones that used to prevent tablecloths in taverns from being carried away by the wind. It was quite elegant to have such metal peg!
The best description of a solid bike in the history of literature comes from Italian writer Giovannino Guarschi, in his book Don Camillo, in wich he speaks about bikes circling in the streets of his native Bassa:
"A true bike must weigh at least 30 kilograms. The paint should be peeled of so that only traces remain. A true bike, first and foremost, should have only one pedal. All that remains of the other is its shaft that marvelously shines from being polished by the soles of shoes - it is the only part of the whole vehicle that shines. The rudder, not coated with rubber, of course, should not stand vertically toward the wheel but at least twelve degrees leftwards or rightwards..."
My dear patient reader, in this description you have recognised your old uncle's bike without a read mudguard, on which you learnt to ride at the cost of many bumps, with your left leg protruding under the bar because you were to small to ride sitting on the seat! This is that bike you haven't ridden enough! And when we began looking at girls on bikes and their pink buttocks that would lighten by turns from under the skirt, it was considered rather witty to tease them while standing aside:
- Hey babe, your rear wheel is turning!
Gosh, what we did just to attract attention: we would ride a bike backwards, with one hand, with no hands, with legs resting on the rudder circling around girls resisting gravitation, risking all and disgrace! And when a girl would finally agree to sit on the bar in front of you and have a ride, there was always a fool who would call out:
- Say, is that a woman's bike?
A true bike should definitely have patched tires so as to clatter better: a wiry basket for a baby, a dynamo-engine driven by the front wheel and a headlight that, as a rule, never works, and above the rear wheel - a luggage grid!
A true bike should be a "contra". On such a bike people would go on a journey, love, transport hey and transport sacks of flour to the steam-mill. On such a bike a family would ride to pay visits: a child in front, a wife behind and the father in the middle.
And just when we thought that bikes were gone for good, they reappered in our lives. In Belgrade, Ljubiša Jocić, a surrealist who was the only person to ride a bike through the city's streets, was considered crazy.
But soon a flood of bicyclists jammed all the walkways and these were mostly ridden by a husband and wife who hoped that she could get rid of surplus kilos by turning pedals. Usually they are both in similar jerseys and have similar body volume that, to get rid of, would require a ride around Europe at least.
No, no, neither bikes nor girls are as they used to be! Both bikes and girls can be play today splendidly disassembled and packed into a car! Really!
Foto: "Le vélo du printemps" (1948) by R. Doisneau