Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Article excerpt

Byline: By Willy Poole

All right you can start laughing now. As we have lots of quiet, spacious country lanes, I thought that I might take up the bicycle again.

Good for the cardio vasculars, tighten up the leg muscles and very useful for popping down to the village for the croissants and baguettes. They say that once you have learned to ride a bicycle, the skill never deserts you.

So, in spite of the fact that I had not ridden a bike for over 20 years, I popped on the beggar and set off. About 100 yards later I fell in the ditch. Ah well, if at first... 100 yards later, I fell in another ditch. In fact, in the first mile or so, I fell in four different ditches. I walked home.

Something was wrong. My sense of balance has never been brilliant which is why I fell off so many horses, so many times, but now my equilibrium appears to be buggered, especially on my right hand side.

This is good for France because that is the side the ditch is and it's better to fall into a nice soggy ditch than it is to fall the other way, which would bring me onto the hard high road and into the path of a furiously driven lorry (there is no other kind in France). Here, I thought, as I wheeled my bike home was a situation that needed a re-think.

The French are great cyclists. On Sundays, you often encounter huge multi-coloured flocks of them pounding along the roads. I was passing one such `pedal' (a collective noun for cyclists?) when I saw It.

It was a tricycle pounding along with the best of them. Ahha! I thought, the answer to my problem was there before me: a tricycle. So we went to the hypermarket at Montmorillon, which sells just about everything:

"A Treesikle"? Said Madame at the desk. "Not a problem. Away you to the bicycle department, talk to the young man and all your wishes will be fulfilled" (all this in French, of course). The young man was equally bullish: "A treesikle? No problem, follow him et voila!" There It was indeed, a veritable `treesikle' resplendent in red and yellow. …

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