Calling the wife or girlfriend of a keen rider a cycling widow is a common joke in cycling circles.
A friend of mine recently became a rather more literal cycling widow. Her husband, in his 70s, died suddenly last year. She’s been slowly clearing out his things over the past few months, and when she found out I was into cycling, decided to give me any bike bits she came across. The bike itself went to his son, but as he’s not ‘into’ bikes, wouldn’t want a box of bits or memorabilia.
It started so matter of factly in our local café one friday “you’re into bikes?…I’ve got a signed poster of Eddy Merckx you can have”. What could I say?
This poster was once hanging in a restaurant in Spain. One day Eddy came in, and of course was asked to sign the poster. Years later my friends visited the restaurant a number of times while on holiday, and became friendly with the owner, who gave them the poster.
After the poster, came the bike box. Any true bike nut will have at least one box filled with random bits; tools; components; tyres.
The jewels in the crown were some classic Campagnolo tools, known as peanut butter wrenches (I’ve not been able to find a satisfactory explanation for that!) As I’ve got a full complement of wrenches in my tool box already, I think I’ll frame these one day.
I felt a range of emotions going through this stuff – above all, a strong connection through a shared passion with a man I had hardly known in life. I hope that when I’m done with it, my box of bike bits is passed on to someone, be they a friend, family member or stranger, it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s someone who shares my passion and who will value it as I do.