Dear Bendigo: The impromtu Fru-Fru

I'M like a kid with a new bike this week… which is a little premature of me, as I haven’t picked it up yet, but I’m counting down the sleeps until I do.

At 33 I’ve bought my very first brand spanking new treadlie. 

It was an impulse buy… But not as bad as that time I came home and casually announced I’d bought a BMW. 

Granted the car was 30 years old with a price tag that would pale in comparison to a lot of bikes on Bendigo roads today, but it was a wee bit silly… the pram I was pushing at the time wouldn’t fit in the boot, so I had to get a new one of those, too.

These are the things a girl is prone to do when something suitably retro sets her heart all aflutter.

The bike seduced me. I’m sure that excuse is as old as the wheel itself, but that’s my line and I’m sticking with it.

She’s just so pretty. A green that’s hard to pinpoint. 

Kind of a Pantone 369 if I must, with a brown leather seat and matching handle grips. (We love a little lady who knows how to coordinate.)

I walked past the green machine, parked out the front of a Bendigo bike shop, the day after having made the walk of shame up the hill beside the Eaglehawk Bowling Club. During match time.

I say hill, it’s more of a gentle rise in the road’s gradient really, but with a dirty head wind I had to get off my bike and push it up. 

I tried to save face in front of the bowlers, smiling and feigning interest in the game as I pushed the bike on past, as though I’d hopped off for a better squiz.

But I wasn’t kidding anyone. So when I found this beautiful bike for sale on the footpath, I saw the answer to slight road rises everywhere… a bike with gears.

My old bike once had three, but they’ve long seized up. 

The 1980 ladies Classique Speedwell I’ve ridden since I was a babe in the back basket is deliciously ironic in name… charming though she is, speedy she is not. I’m told lots of bikes from the 80s had names which eluded to characteristics well beyond their abilities, like the Dunlop Mountain Climber, which couldn’t get you past the bowling green, let alone up alpine roads.

It’ll be another couple of weeks before my new bike comes home with me, and before then, it needs a name.

You can find advice for anything on the internet… including how to name a bicycle. 

One blog post suggests that for utterly irrelevant reasons, all bicycles should be given names of cattle, like Daisy or Ermintrude. 

I’d prefer a horse’s name to be honest, because it’s the closest I’ll get to saddling up in the forseeable future. 

Literary gee-gee Fru-Fru from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy has a nice ring to it. 

Another post suggests naming your bike after an old teacher, so you can say things like, “Mrs. Nichols sure does get around”.

I’m not sure yet… just as long as I don’t let my bike  go the way of the BMW and end up being called “The Installation”, such as the car is, left static and fading in the driveway of impromptu dreams.


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