Above is a picture of Roberto showing my son around his bike shed, perhaps as long as four years ago now. The love Roberto has instilled in his own sons for cycling sees his eldest now living in Denmark and his youngest now moved to Japan. Both, in part, have moved to enjoy the cycling that each of those countries allows.
Roberto is just back from visiting son-2 in Japan, with so many photos of moultons and minivelos that I would bet money he’s been looking for such a bike on ebay ever since he’s been home, but of course he will not have found one, meaning Roberto will soon be emailing to say he has just bought a Moosegoose.
You see, my friend Roberto is an avid hoarder of secondhand bikes. He doesn’t just add them to his watch list on ebay. He doesn’t just buy them on ebay and leave them to rust in his shed. He buys each on ebay, that one other bike might have a good father.
He keeps folders, tandems, mixties, 10 speeds, “classic” mountain bikes and all the rest, in A-1 working condition, out of the same spirit one might sponsor a child through World Vision. Sure, when we first go shopping online for a sponsor child, we imagine ourselves sponsoring some kid who, with better teeth, might one day turn up on telly in the miss universe pageant (why hello Miss Ecuador!) but in the end we happily settle for the knockabout lad who will just learn to read.
If you’re reading Mrs Roberto, please don’t put a price on his bike-nurturing soul.