Once upon a time there was a boy and he was very sad.
Why are you sad? Asked the girl.
Because my bike is broken, I cleaned it and oiled it and tuned it and then it broke down when I tried to go on a bike ride. I fixed it so many times it gave me blisters and when I took it for a ride in the countryside it broke down again. I don’t understand.
Don’t worry, I’ve got a bike here. Look, this one is all shiny and new and it has a basket and a bell. You can have it, if you like.
Are you sure? I don’t think I can take your bike. (The boy had very nice manners)
Of course! I’ve got one too, do you want to go on a bike ride?
Yes please! Where can we go?
Wherever you want!
And can we have a picnic?
Of course, that’s a lovely idea. And, if you like, we can ride up the mountain and look at the view.
So, off they went, cycling in the sunshine on the girl’s shiny bikes. The pedals whirred and the wheels whirled and the spokes clicked by so quickly that they purred. She coasted down the hill, giggling and wiggling her feet, and he stood up and pedaled hard to overtake her, ring-a-dinging his bell. He took his hands off the handlebars and waved at her, she laughed and lifted her front wheel off the path. They sang to the sound of the wind in their ears.
Do you like the bike? Called the girl.
Yes! It’s wonderful, thank you! Shouted the boy.
And they cycled to the seaside and ate ice cream. And they cycled through the valley and paddled in the stream. And they cycled up to the top of the mountain, and as they plopped down to look at the view, the boy seemed sad.
What’s wrong? Asked the girl.
The boy was looking at his shiny red bike with its basket and bell and purring wheels. He looked up at the girl and said:
I don’t want this bike, I’m not used to nice bikes. I want my old broken one. I want to try and fix it again and again.
So, although he would get blisters and break down and fall off, the boy handed the shiny bike back to the girl, turned away and walked back down the mountain to his rusty bike, never to ride like the wind or paddle in the stream or go wherever he wanted.
The girl watched him go and felt very strange. She looked down at the beautiful bike she had given him and scratched her head. Suddenly she didn’t feel like going on a bike ride anymore, or ever again. And she thought:
Maybe I shouldn’t give anyone the beautiful shiny bike.
But that made her even sadder.
I have this lovely bike and it’s such a shame not to share it. Maybe the boy didn’t need it, but maybe someone else will.