In praise of the pushbike

At the moment, I’m working from home after an unfortunate coming together of me, my bike, and the Elephant & Castle roundabout. I’ll be on crutches (and an extensive cocktail of painkillers) for a good few months. And I have an extraordinary contraption round my leg, stopping my knee moving, called a Taylor Spatial Frame, with a surprising number of wires going straight into my leg.

So, when I do get out of the house, my weirdo frame gets a lot of attention (it looks more painful than it feels). And inevitably, people say ‘what did you do?’ And I say, ‘I came off my bike’. And on account of the general gruesomeness of my frame, people at that point generally guess, ‘motorbike?’

And I say ‘no... pushbike’. It’s not a word I used very much before my accident. But when asked to make a distinction, it’s the one which springs to mind. Which is great. It’s a lovely quaint word. I feel like it belongs alongside a word like ‘wireless’ (in the old sense). Or maybe even ‘charabanc’. It’s a word in black and white.

So while I’m wishing the months away till I get back on (touch wood), I might keep using that word when things go back to normal; a little linguistic memento of times gone by.


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on Nov 22, 2011

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