Dumps are boring places nowadays. When I were a lad (♪cue Hovis music♫), the Mavis Valley tip was a real treasure-trove of wheels (proper pram wheels rather than the pathetic roller-skate efforts of today) and everything else you needed to construct extremely dangerous, but oh-so-thrilling go-karts, or bogeys as we called them. Dump trips had the added excitement of running the gauntlet of wee Neds from Milton, who regarded us “snobby c* nts fae Bishie” as legitimate targets. Nowadays, dumps are all squeaky-clean and have even rebranded themselves as “Recycling Centres”. So I certainly wasn’t expecting to find anything interesting when me and Sara visited Oakbank with a car-load of junk from a garage clear-out last Saturday.
But there, propped up amongst an assortment of discarded kiddies’ bikes and electrical goods, lay a cracking steel-framed BH Vittoria road bike, its class unconcealed beneath a bit of garage dust. And what a beauty. Spokes all present and correct. A cracking pair of NKS pedals with proper leather straps. Alloy cranks, chainset and bars. Weimann brakes with those irritating extension levers so trendy in the ‘80s - but half an hour with a Junior hacksaw could sort that. Wheels needing minor trueing and hub adjustment, but nothing beyond even my meagre mechanical skills. A local bike too, its black sticker declaring it was supplied by Pedal Power of West Calder, the 0506 dialling code hinting at its vintage (probably mid-1980s).
A spare inner-tube tucked away under the saddle would suggest its previous owner was a club cyclist; the shark-toothed smaller front cog, yet pristine larger one (showing where the chain had spent all its life) indicating a poser rather than athlete. A large frame, so maybe a gangly teenager dabbling in cycle sport before belatedly discovering birds and booze, but now in middle-age too fat to get his leg over (the frame at least)? Or maybe, with the bike being in such good nick, it was a passion dumping – the murderously vengeful wife, having discovered hubbie playing the field, striking a blow to the heart by carting his pride and joy straight round to the tip? Well, too late now – should have kept it in your pants mate.
I was impressed by the integrity of the Cooncil worker at the dump - he wouldn’t take a penny for the bike, explaining that they weren’t allowed to sell anything (understandable for public workers I suppose, but no-one would have known) and he was happy for a delighted me to wheel it away free of charge.
A very perceptive Sara was rolling her eyes as I took off the wheels to get it in the car boot and, sure enough, the price for the bike manifested itself in the grief I got from Gulshen on our return - for coming back with junk, rather than taking it away. A bit of a dilemma now in deciding what to ride, as I’m quite fond of my old Peugeot but all parts are interchangeable, so I should be well enough stocked-up to keep me rolling through the winter. My latest acquisition kind of undermines my “need” argument for a new Cycle to Work scheme Boardman, so I’ll just have to bluff my way through that one as best I can.