When I first came to the neighbourhood I now live in, I noticed immediately the Bicycle shop on the corner. Bicycle shops on corners make use of the fact that one can look at a specific bike at different angels. I have always enjoyed riding a bike. I spent more than average time in front of this specific shop, dreaming of riding one of the shiny bicycles, which were floating around in the shop window.
I liked the man who owned the shop. He looked like a real bicycle engineer to me. The thing I like the most, however, was the fact that he used to repair and fix the broken bicycles on the pavement, in front of his bicycle repair shop. He did so despite all kind of weather conditions. To me he was The Real Bicycle Repair Man.
So far it was a true romance between me, my opinion of what I saw and the image.
One day some mishap forced me to enter this image. I used to repair my bicycles myself and I never had been in need of something to complicated for me. The small things I bought in the shop were sold to me by a woman who, I assumed, must have been his wife because I noticed a female kind of grumpiness. But now I definitely needed the help of an expert, the one and only Bicycle Repair Man, my own hero.
I learned the hard way that there are no heroes in real life. There are no fairy tales of Hi Ho Silver (Stephen King, IT 1990) and E.T. riding in a bicycle basket across the moon (Steven Spielberg, E.T the Extra Terrestrial 1982). I can’t remember what I did with my broken bicycle but I do remember that I made myself a promise. I would never ever again ask my hero to do something for me if it could be done by someone else. You do not ask a hero to help you. When you’re in your final seconds, and danger has its hands around your throat, you’re hero will come and fix it. There are no real hero’s in real life. There’s only hope that you don’t need them.
In August 2009 his wife tried to kill herself by riding her bike in the canal. She was so full of grief over the lost of her husband that she couldn’t cope with real life. She survived her desperate action but up to now no one knows how she managed to get out of the water.