My flatmate Eugene would find bike parts anywhere and everywhere. Wheels in skips, pedals on playing fields, he even had a grappling hook to dredge the canal for old frames.
Every couple of months the day would arrive when Eugene had enough bits, so he’d phone in sick to work and spend the day in our back yard with his tools and his cough sweet tin full of ball bearings, building another bike.
Everyone we knew had a Eugene mongrel bike, He never sold them, he just gave them to people. The saddles were mostly gaffer tape and glue and that’s where his cousin Roisin came unstuck (or nearly didn’t).
On a hot day, thankfully wearing jeans (not the summer dress she later said she’d considered that morning), something weird happened to all that adhesive. Roisin worked at a florist in the centre of town but on arrival found that her bike had become really quite attached to her.
Of the three options open to her she quickly dismissed (1) cutting the haunches free from her jeans and (2) tying bouquets all day while glued to a bike. Option 3 involved a market stall and two market traders. Roisin kicked off her shoes and hung by her hands from the scaffold of the stall as the stall holders slowly pulled bike/jeans combo off her. She spent the rest of the work day in two aprons, one front, one back.
Eugene wanted to buy her a new pair of jeans but Roisin wouldn’t have it. She said she rarely had to pay for anything from the market anymore now that she’d achieved local celebrity status, so the pros outweighed the cons.
What really knocked everyone for six was that for the first time ever, Eugene entered a bike shop and handed over actual cash for a brand new saddle for her.