Sunday, 15 March 2009

"Excuse me, could I rent your bicycle for the evening?"

Just as I was coming out of my local IGA supermarket, a fellow approached me and asked "Excuse me, do you have a bicycle I could rent for the evening?".

I was so impressed with the question. The universe had blessed me with a Leunig moment, and there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity.

But I like STUFF. I don't have much of it, but the STUFF I do have is chosen carefully, wiped tenderly and frequently, and often re-painted pink (Not the bike though, not yet).
So before I answered, I used some Permaculture observation, to determine if I would get the bike back.
Middle aged (good, he has made it this far, must have some sense),
Conservative vest and lace up shoes - mmm... good.
Lunch stains on the vest - not great but neither is the bike.
A (ragged) notebook under his arm with 'Comedy' scrawled as a heading.
Comedy. That cinched the deal. In my extensive 'People trusting' experiances (as an international woman of Mystery and expert people-judger), having A Dream Of One's Own is the best indicator of trustworthiness. If you are valiant and positive and quick-thinking enough to get up on a comedy podium, you won't have much need to steal bikes to get by.

So I said 'Yes'.

He had calculated he'd need 19 rejections before getting a "Yes", but struck me on the third ask.

I did ask why he didn't have his own bike on hand. Well, his mates from years ago, from the Great Victorian Bike ride had just turned up in Melbourne, and is bike was at home on the outskirts, and he really, really wanted a ride with them.

We drove home, he got the bike and said "$30?" I said "That's exactly what I was thinking", and off he peddled.

He ended up giving me $40 for a late return. They went to the pub that The Simpsons was filmed in (the pre-war Melbourne Simpsons), and there was apparently too much happiness for him to leave earlier than necessary.

A few times since then when I've let circumstances stop me from doing lovely things, I think of TheBikeBorrowingMan. I calculate for 19 rejections,get brave, and Just Do It. Its often way less than 19, and it only FEELS bad (no damage, really)

Maybe I should have paid him the $40.


  1. i love this! and your illustrations are wonderful. thanks for sharing!

  2. Lovely use of permaculture principles 1 and 12 :-)
    I love your new blog, and I sympathise about the lack of petunias, my blog doesn't have enough of them for popular search demand either. There's so much more to life than petunias! Keep up the great work.

  3. Lovely, this post.....consider yourself encouraged!

    Petunias are out of season now anyway!!!!!

  4. The bike story was so nice. I heard that somewhere on the continent (Holland I think) there's a scheme by a local council where you can borrow a bike and take it back to a certain place in the town when done with it. Can you imagine a fleet of pink bikes leaning against bus stops all over Melbourne waiting for their next "ride"!