Post: But first, patience, you have to read his eulogy to the old bike first because we have followed it through thick and thin, and Charlie doesn’t want us to miss out on his thoughts.
To the Old Bike:
Well, old chap, your numbers up. I am sorry, because for all the trouble I have had with you, you have been a good pal. You and I have travelled for many years together, under all conditions, and you have rarely let me down. You have carried me across many counties, into strange places and many, many joyous miles. You have enjoyed with me the leisurely potter, the fierce ‘scrap’, the struggle against persistent headwinds, the rides (many and varied) in a wet, dripping world, the strenuous all night runs and early starts, the ‘pass storming’, and the finest phase of the finest pastime, touring.
You were old when I first met you – my first machine, and I have put you through a continual gruelling in this inclement weather. Although your life may be prolonged, you will never again taste with me the real joys of cycling, and your fate will be setts and bricks and mortar, and with you I shall only possess the remembrance of that which is behind….
‘Memories, images, and precious thoughts
Which shall not die and cannot be destroyed’.
Even now as I write this, a flood of memories of bygone rides comes to me. First, and foremost is that ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and all its associations. Then my mind flashes back through the tours of the year before, the halcyon days in Derbyshire, the Cheshire idylls. The ‘freedom of the hills’ in Wales, and the beauties of the woods and dales and plains were conveyed to me, by you. Who can forget the wild Trough of Bowland, and might of Lancaster, ‘Gaunts embattled pile’, the wondrous beauty of the River Dee and the quaint old city of Chester with its legends and tumultuous history, ‘The Camp of the Giant Legion’. Its sisters in old-worldliness, York and Shrewsbury, the craggy heights of Kinder Scout, the infinite dales or the contrasts of the old and the modern in Haddon Hall and Chatsworth, Buxton, the ‘Queen of the Peak’, set in a region of valleys and moors and lonely roads.
The romantic Peckforton Hills, with their old halls and castle-crowned rocky neighbour, Beeston. The ravishing beauty of the adjoining county and the sleepy rural villages. The uplands of Wales so much explored even to your second-last run, that gorgeous thrust to the Glyn Valley. Who can forget that early morning glimpse of Conway Castle and the ride that followed through the incomparable Vale of Conway to beautiful Bettws-y-Coed and the views of mountain ranges. Oh, I could go on for ever to tell of what you have shown me, and done for me.
During the short period that I am without your new companion, I am chafing at my bonds, the weather is beautiful. Easter passes in a haze of summery weather – and I am stuck indoors, for without cycling, I am lost !
The narrative continues three weeks later in April 1925, when his new bike is delivered,