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This wasn't exactly the sort of streamlined machine that you see hurtling around the French Alps and tipping its rider into deep ravines-something that the French seem to do a lot of but with strings of onions around their necks presumably for balance,ballast or both-or City Brokers dodging buses down the Euston Road with its battered basket, flapping mudguards, rattling chain guard,bald tyres,worn brakes and siezed up bell but word had it that the owner of the Kingham Bike Hire Company,a stooped but ambitious bike rental magnate as worn out as most of his bikes who rented them out for a penny an hour (excepting to KH boys who he hated with a vengance!)was looking to expand his buisiness and was advertising for second hand bikes at a fair price and Mrs Phelp's bike looked the perfect candidate and the possible flagship of his fleet-but only from a distance.

In those days five bob bought enough fags to fire up a steam train and it was all of five bob that was on offer for good solid rust free secondhand bikes and everything that Mrs Phelp's bike wasn't,even to a half blind bike rental magnet whoe's wife had left him years ago for a wandering sheep shearer, or so word had it, so he surrounded himself with bikes and bike spanners and tried to make one good one out of his rusting fleet but failed miserably on all counts.

Now Mrs Phelps rarely used her bike, in fact I only ever saw her on it once when myself and a couple of other researchers were studying the mysteries of stocking tops and where they ended,and Mrs Phelp's in particular, and hoped to get a swift glimpse as she hurtled out of control all the way down hill from Durham House for a meeting with a 2ft thick brick wall that was all part of Sheffield House and the coal cellar chute in particular-where she ended up.

Dusting herself of and swearing never to ride that stupeed bike agins-she was Swedish you see but with terrific legs which forgave her for being so-no truer words were ever spoken as the very next evening a dubiously arranged pair of limbs commonly know as legs to those in the know,were seen gyrating hell for leather towards Kingham village arriving with mangled trouser bottoms,and short trouser bottoms at that,where he clinched a deal,loaded up with fags from the village shop where the old dear turned a blind eye-a simple task at best as she only had one- and returned by way of the Srumpet Club to share them out with the Sheff House Smokers club and bike hiesters combined.

Then,a week later,Mr Phelps came into the common room offering a 5 bob reward for the recovery of Mrs Phelp's bike and by hiring it for a penny one sunday and returning it to its rightfull owner, the Sheff House proffits shot up by 4 pound and 239 pence as the Kingham Bike Rental Company went into liquidation- or at least the owners lumbago did...

Dizzy D

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