Black Bike’s proud frame and shiny wheels stood gleaming and poised for action. Did I detect a slight shudder as I crouched down to secure a small round object to those normally confident steely handlebars?
I tried to be reassuring.
“Don’t be upset, Black Bike. It’s just a bell. We’re not going soft.”
Black Bike remained silent, dreading the future application of the plastic basket with the pretty pink flowers, and the handlebar streamers, and the spokey-dokes.
“It’s about our safety, Black Bike. It’s so dangerous out there, and the authorities are showing how they truly care about our well-being.”
There was an air of distain as Black Bike mutely chastised me for giving in to never-ending freedom-sapping rules and regulations. And a pleading look as my proud and faithful companion contemplated a future of embarrassed cringing outside our morning coffee shop.
“Black Bike,” I intoned solemnly. “Now you have a voice.”
There was no further response, as I straightened up to survey the new device adorning Black Bike’s handlebars.
“This is your voice to communicate with those hermetically sealed cars that buzz past us, leaving only millimetres to spare. You can say “ting, ting”, and become an audible beacon guiding their quest for a 1.5 metre passing gap.”
Black Bike remained unmoved.
“And you will know exactly what to say when those snarling growling hounds come snapping at our heels. You can add your commanding “ting, ting” to my panicked shouts.”
“And you won’t be silenced by the clattering exhaust brakes and piercing air horns whistling past our ears on those narrow roads. Your adamant “ting, ting” will ring out as a mantle of protection above the din.”
I gently stroked Black Bike’s handlebars.
“No more will you be mute when testosterone fueled greetings lunge from car windows at us. “Get off the f…ing road” they say. “Ting, ting”, you can retort.”
“And you can “ting, ting” away the kangaroos, wallabies and rabbits that dash into our path in the pre-dawn hours. And “ting, ting” those cane toads who lurk in wait to topple us over.”
With hands on hips, I delivered the final salvo.
“But best of all, Black Bike. We don’t have to quake and tremble when that ticket book appears out of the gloom, and we hear that dreaded question.
”Where’s your bell?” they demand.
We will stand tall and look them squarely in the eye.
“Ting, ting”, we will say.”
25 April 2017