Yeah. Okay. I know what you are thinking. I'm aware of the ah, interesting connotations that inevitably ensue from riding around on a bike named Richard but trust me. I can explain.
Whilst I was in London I began to admire the old school cycles being ridden around the East End where I lived. Admiration turned into adoration which developed into obsession which eventually led to me to consumption - and appropriating a very own vintage cycle of my own.
I found my friend on Gumtree (a buy and sell site), and immediately fell in love with him (though, at the time, I must admit, I had assumed it was a "her"). So I offered £40 and to my surprise it was accepted and I practically skipped to meet the seller with the cash burning a hole in my pocket and my smile as wide as a cheshire cat's.
On meeting Richard I was immediately taken aback by his solid yet feminine frame, perfectly sized front basket, gleaming white handle bars and shiny pinky/purply coat, topped off with a cute bell shaped like a ladybug (though with one wing broken off. Adding to the character, of course). I took him for a quick spin (trying to hide the fact that I hadn't ridden a bike for about ten years) and happily handed over the money. Just as I was about to ride off into the sunset (well, this is London we are talking about, I may have imagined that bit), the seller formally introduced me. "By the way, his name's Richard". I stopped in my tracks. "Yeah, I bought him from a drag queen who christened him". I can't begin to tell you how elated I was at that moment. Not only was I now the proud owner of my own vintage raleigh caprice, but my trusty mode of transport also had an interesting history and a name. Freaking awesome!
Wait. The story gets even cooler (if that is even possible...). My friend and flatmate Sarah had arranged to borrow a bike from a friend also living in the East End. She picked it up, rode it home and lo and behold it was a perfect match! I'm talking same make, same model, same colour, same gleaming white handle bars, same shiny pinky/purply frame... We named her Lady Caprice and her and Richard immediately hit it off. They dated for a while, enjoying each other's company, taking long rides along the canal, sitting side by side in the corner of the lounge, whispering sweet nothing's into each other's ah, well, you get the picture.
Alas, we eventually had to leave London and while it was hard parting the perfect pair, we packed up Richard and shipped him here to New Zealand where we have since been getting acquainted with the streets and cycle lanes of Christchurch. We talk about Lady often. You know what they say, it's better to have loved and lost...
So here he is. My mate, Richard.