I haven't ridden a bike on the road since I was about ten years old. I had a rubbish bike then - probably a hand me down from both my sister and brother, so as soon as I got to an age where looks mattered, the poor red and blue bastard got left in the shed to go rusty. I say shed, it was actually an abandoned yellow rail carriage that my dad acquired and hid in the corner of the garden behind the gooseberry bushes. A shed substitute. Which we affectionately termed the 'yellowhut'. One word.
My parents sold my childhood home (ever a sore subject) when I was twenty. It was on the market for two or three years before it eventually sold, and over that time we gradually tarted it up and cleared out all my memories.
Big house, big garden. A garden with lots of secret corners and overgrown enclaves, which only a long loved garden can cultivate. We emptied out boxes of photographs and old clocks, and burned the yellowhut down.
My uncle came down especially, and he, my dad and I pulled decades worth of climbing roses and green creepers down from the roof and walls. We uncovered the insignia on the sides and for the first time in my lifetime the yellowhut looked like a train carriage again. The green moss and the red rust on the yellow peeling paint was beautiful and I photographed it for posterity. Then my uncle proceeded to rip down its wooden walls and burn them on an enormous sweet smelling bonfire, while my dad chopped up the metal structure inside. I took more pictures.
I don't know where my rubbish bike went. I'm fairly sure we didn't burn it. Although the ten year old me would not have objected.
Either way, I've waited a long time for a nice, shiny new bike. And on my sunny, chilly ride today, avoiding puddles, and more importantly the cars behind me, while dodging said puddles, I felt ten years old again.