This weekend we paid a flying visit to my parents to see them, of course, and so the other half could chop up some of the extra big logs for their woodburner but really so I could have a go on Mum’s Paper Bike. It’s a splendid beast: the other half actually laughed when he saw it and called it a hot rod. He reckons it needs flame decals along the tubes, not to mention more chrome, although I’m not sure that’s entirely going to suit Mum’s general style. In fact, I didn’t actually get to ride it that much this weekend because when we took it out on Sunday morning, he co-opted it in preference to the Brompton, only letting me ride it for the bit through town as he felt the wicker basket somewhat let the side down. Perhaps we should have sprung for the Starship Enterprise-shaped rack after all, albeit in extra chrome.
I have to admit, I hadn’t really thought of the bike in those terms – but I have to agree, it is rather badass. This was my third go on a Paper Bike, and my first on one with gears, and I’m not sure there’s much I can add to my first impressions, but it undeniably has presence. The only way to ride it is bolt upright, nodding regally from time to time in acknowledgement of any admiring glances that come your way. Its fat tyres actually handle the muddy paths around Duns Castle surprisingly well and while it’s certainly a solid bike, with eight gears I didn’t quite feel the need to get out of the saddle (or even get off and push). We took it out for a little run along the country lanes around the town and it seemed just as happy on the open road although you do need to take a bit of a run at the hills and you certainly know all about them, uphill AND downhill. We didn’t actually have the nerve to try it, but I even think that it would have handled this ford (oh and Borders Council: what is the point of a ford without a depth gauge? Where’s the fun in that?)
It took Mum a little getting used to but she’s delighted with it now. I’ve a feeling she – and it – will become one of the sights of the town as she pedals around it in style. And if she should feel the need to make a few ‘vroom vroom’ noises as she speeds away from the lights,* well then, who could blame her a bit?
* if there were any actual lights in Duns which, in the interests of strict accuracy, there are not