Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

bikes and bits

One of the things I love about Marek is the way he introduces me to other worlds. There's the Catholic world and the world where everyone speaks Polish, and last weekend there was the world of motorbikes...
Every year there's a bike market in a Warsaw park. Marek has an old Russian motorbike that constantly needs repairing and he was on the search for a piece that goes round the central part in the wheel and attaches to the brakes (yeah, like you know the name either...) Anyway, I decide it might be a laugh so we went together on saturday morning.
I'd expected the leather-clad burly tattooed men, even the leather-clad burly tattooed women, but there was so much I hadn't expected. The young girl of ten with her helmet casually slung over her shoulder as she followed her father and inspected leather jackets; the family of four in matching motorbike t-shirts; the mini bikes that looked built for four-year-olds but which were being driven round by boys four times older - it was all so fun. Then there were the vans and cars whose owners were displaying their wares in hundreds of little baskets. There were recognisable objects (even to me) like the tyres, wheels, pieces of bodywork and helmets; then there were more abstract things; screws and joints, chains and flaps, wires and lengths of metal. We did the rounds and collected prices for the part Marek needed (which incidentally came with two semi-circular things with rubber on... no idea what they are for). We looked at whole bikes with price tags ranging from the pretty damn cheap to pretty damn unaffordable; the beaten up rusty ones to the sleek brand new Harleys.
The thing that surprised me most were the people on crutches. They were presumably the victims of motorbike accidents, and they weren't just suffering scraped knees either. One had a neck brace so big he looked like he was wearing one of those dog cones and another had his leg in a serious-looking brace contraption. They were either masochists or their love for motorbikes was so enormous it would take more than a serious accident to stop them. I was slightly in awe.
We bought what was needed and Marek has fixed it to the motorbike. Obviously the bike doesn't actually work yet, but maybe that'll mean he has to go to another market, and maybe he'll let me come along.

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