Start Monday

After a long time scrabbling around to pay the bills I’ve finally found a paid job that will do that and quite a lot more, allowing me to continue to do the things I like doing. The things I seem to be able to do in a way that people seem to like, and things I’m getting better at.

I went up for the interview a week ago today, a Tuesday. We spent half the interview talking about the shortcomings of rigid processes and a lot of time talking about bicycles.

It was something I’d put on my CV, how one of my ambitions was to afford a Pedersen. What’s a Pedersen? Is this an interview or something?

Long, long ago, before there were even cars, a man called Mr Pedersen was Danish but he had the misfortune to live in Dursley. I know. But let’s get on. He built a bicycle, lots of them, out of wood, sometimes. They weren’t like ordinary bicycles. Instead of one basic rectangle on the slant-shaped frame (look, I didn’t do well at maths at school, ok? I can do it now, pretty well, but I don’t know the names of shapes. Rhomboid? Maybe? Anyway…) with a saddle perched on the top, the Pedersen bicycle has made up of loads of even more slanty rectangles, with much thinner metal tubes holding it all together, with no saddle at all. Instead, the rider half stood, half sat in a leather sling.

You can see the difference.
You can see the difference.


For lots of reasons, Pedersens turned out a lot faster and more comfortable than the standard ‘safety’ bicycle. Maybe because the rider’s stomach isn’t cramped up so the lungs can expand more easily, maybe because with a straight posture you can get more power out of your thigh muscles and into the pedals – I don’t know. But they won so many races that they were banned from racing, which along with a bit of financial embarassment pretty much finished the company. Mr Pedersen invented a milking machine, being a handy sort and went back to Denmark and there the story might have ended.

Except it rather wonderfully didn’t. Back in about 1970 a Danish blacksmith found one of these old bikes and in the spirit of the times, thought he’d start making them. He opened a workshop (ok, a shed then) in an abandoned military barracks in Copenhagen that people were starting to call Christianaland and did exactly that.

The utterly wonderful Pedersen bicycle I can't afford.
The utterly wonderful Pedersen bicycle I can’t afford.

And people bought them. They weren’t cheap, at about 1,000 Euros each, but they were and are great. I rode one once. So did a friend of mine whose idea of a nice bicycle was one with four wheels and an engine and a heater and a roof and a good CD player and leather seats. She was away for 20 minutes, which made the man in the pub whose bike we’d been talking about more than a bit agitated. She got back and described a route she’d taken that must have been covered about 20% faster than you’d comfortably be able to on a normal bike and trust me, she didn’t do cycle racing.

“I want one of those,’ was the first thing she said as she handed the bike back to the owner.

“I’d like that one, please,’ was the first thing I said in the shop when I found an insulated steel cup with a screw-top lid that will be ideal for the commute immediately after the interview. I’m usually rubbish about interviews, in large part because I often end-up talking about bicycles and things.

Anyway, all this stuff seems to have got me a job. Which means I can now have weekends completely free from worry about how I’m going to afford to go to open mic gigs on Friday and Saturday nights. Ok, I’m going to have to commute, but I’m working on a car/folding bike/train arrangement that I think will work out pretty well, especially as summer’s coming.

Now I’d better get on with polishing shoes and ironing some shirts. And I need some more hangers for them. And I suppose I’d better finish this stage version of the play what I wrote, now that Eastern Angles want a serious look at it with a view to producing it. There’s always something, isn’t there? Wish me luck.





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