I love bicycles. To my mind no other invention quite manages to encapsulate the essential elements of human existence. Riding a bike requires physical effort and brings joy (though perhaps not always at the same time!) There is a simple elegance to bicycle mechanics, and regardless of their age and purpose, nearly all bicycles have a pleasing aesthetic. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of riding bicycles, and of fixing them with my grandfathers.
In January 2014 my wife and I moved to South West France from the UK, a project many years in the pipeline. In addition to teaching English in a school, I’ve been unable to resist picking up a few old bikes at flea markets and restoring them. I’d love to keep them all, but the limits of budget, space and my wife’s patience mean I usually sell them on. I love tinkering, and I love taking something old and making it usable again. I dream of one day having a little bike shop in my village, but in the meantime this is just a self-funding hobby.
We’re lucky enough to have a barn behind our house. It may one day be converted into a gite or an apartment for my mother in law, but for the meantime it’s just for storage – most notably for my bikes, which take up the upstairs floor. I must have twenty bikes in there; projects for me, projects to sell and bare frames scavenged for parts. I love nothing better than going up there for an hour or two to repack some bearings of tighten a few spokes.