When I was a child and through to a teenager I, like most of my peers, had a desire to own a bicycle. It was like a right of passage. Part of life development. It seemed natural and ordinary. It represented growth, freedom and independence. It was after all the status symbol of a generation. A chance to explore wider boundaries and meet new friends.
Bicycles were certainly an expensive thing. In my world at the time it had serious financial implications for parents. As one of three children getting expensive gifts was an extremely rare thing. In those days toys were reserved for special occasions like Birthdays or Christmases and the cost of bikes were probably more than treble that were spent on those days combined.
Plus there was an element of danger. Children, bikes and traffic didn’t mix well with the former usually coming off worst.
It was for the above reason my father steadfastly refused to buy his children a bike. And of the three of us I was the most upset by this. Very upset. Extraordinarily upset. Boundary tantrum upset.
I reasoned that bicycle ownership would help me develop. I was a timid child, small compared to most school colleagues, a pacifist in an angry world, scared with insecurities about being considered part of it. I struggled to have close friends at school and was further alienated by being unable to be part of the cycling gangs developing. With no bike I appeared to be a loner. A loser.
It didn’t help that my circumstances took me away to a remote school at twelve years old and getting there was a pain. Bus rides, long walks and being miles from friends when socialising was unbearable. It is even probably the reason I never became a rock star.
I argued long and passionately about these points with my dad but he was unrepentant. I pointed out that I, more than other children, would treat riding with respect and care to avoid becoming the jam in a car sandwich. I reasoned that by restricting this activity he was cruel, stunting my development and curtailing any after school activities. I even offered to have nothing else if only I could have a bike. But to no effect. There was no way he’ll change his mind.
As a result of this I wrote a song. A duet, coupled with chorus elements served to suggest a West End musical style because that is exactly what it was intended to be. This passionate episode in my life was written to be part of a plan for a musical of my life that I was considering and working on in the 1980s. The lyrics were penned in 1989. The musical has yet to be completed.
The unedited original lyrics are reproduced in full in my website. In the ‘Songs’ section click on the bit labelled ‘Bike’. The link is vinceunlimited.co.uk/bike.htm or vinceunlimited.co.uk/bikem.htm if you are viewing this on a smartphone.
Despite the apparent complexity the song does not yet have any musical accompaniment. I will eventually get around to doing this but will first need to learn how to write music. This was a serious flaw in my plan to write that musical. So, can you help?
If the tune is great and it becomes a success I may buy you a bike. Providing you don’t bloody well go on about it all the time.
Author: Vince Poynter
This is an extract from the re-launched, hand coded vinceunlimited.co.uk web site Version 5.006 dated dated 16 Oct 2017 and is an explanation of a song originally written in 1989 and published in Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The image depicts the author sat on one of his first bicycles.