07 Jun 2012

Secondhand bike shop, Spring 2012

Uncategorized No Comments

It’s perhaps worth saying something of the latter part of our most recent trip to Benelux, even though regular readers of this blog will probably remark, ‘Well, there’s nothing new in these slightly morbid travelling tales.’

But then this is the bike business I would counter, where nothing really ever changes.

I was, fortuitously enough, ill off work on the Friday and so able to join Johnny in Flanders for our twice annual trip to the bike markets of that area. I say fortuitously but then I also had to take Eurolines from Victoria coach station which is always a humbling experience. We were doing quite well and the sort of creeping frustration which sets in on any long bus journey was being kept well at bay until a detour took us out to France and a couple of laps around an industrial estate, where we picked up a cabal of Czech driver’s hands, all fat necks and ill-fitting shirts, who to be fair enough seemed like perfectly nice guys, but whose entrance delayed my arrival in Flanders and caused the inevitable Eurolines neurosis to finally begin to set in.

On arriving in Flanders I discovered that John, who had had a day alone in the city and plenty of time to coordinate a meeting, was in fact waiting at a different station in a different part of the city. After a mouthful of curses he soon emerged and, following a brief scuffle induced no doubt by the Eurolines frame of mind, we were reconciled in one of our favorite bars where several strong Belgian lagers led seamlessly on to a cheap kebab and a satisfied coma, in a tent well-pitched by the side of a motorway.

Imagine if you can the cycle ride back from the heart of the city to the campsite, which proved to be a decent distance from the centre. The city in question is all lakes and parks and tramlines, and our late-night tour of the city was pleasant and not a little dangerous; and even though John had chosen old Dutch ladies bikes and they weren’t particularly fast per se, they were certainly moving pretty fast at this point, and bits fell off.

And on our return finally to the campsite we were joined, suddenly but definitively, by our neighbour, who was a permanent resident of the site. I suppose then that makes it a trailer park. And even though I had been briefed about his madness I was unprepared for the stream of consciousness ramblings of a supposedly recovering drug addict, whose machine-gun delivery in impeccable Dutch-flavoured English described subjects as diverse as novel methods by which one can deliver amphetamine to the real potentiality of my being a murderer, to the political crisis in Belgium.

No Responses to “Secondhand bike shop, Spring 2012”

Leave a Reply