Cycling to Art School

Cycling to Art School
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Dad on his bike

On my first day at Camberwell School of Art and Crafts I arrived slightly hot and bothered; it was a warm September day and I had just cycled through five miles of South London streets with my oversized drawing board under one arm and an A-Z stuffed in my waistband.

The bicycle was my father’s, and was also slightly too big, so the board was rammed again and again up into my armpit as I gripped both hands to the handlebars to stop or start. I still have the board, but the bike was stolen in my first year. My dad had owned it for decades – in fact he toured Britain on it in the fifties, writing a series of articles for a cycling magazine as he went. Later, when I was two or three years old, he added a small seat to the crossbar, foot rests below the handlebars, and took me on rides with him. Ever since then, it had been parked in the woodshed, unused – but I distinctly remember my father’s