This is my Windcheetah
recumbent trike. Mine! It's the longest serving member
of my fleet in fact, lovingly built in 1990 by Bob Dixon
and now with many thousands of miles under its wheels.
But why ride something that looks for all the world
like a pedal-powered spaceship? Well, probably because
it's an adult-sized go-kart. Speedy is fast and fun,
and like all thoroughbred fast and fun things it's also
expensive and amazingly impractical, but that doesn't
stop me commuting on it.
While my safe, solid
commuter mountain bike gets a splash of oil and maybe
a hosedown once in a while, there is something about
Speedy that makes me want to use pipe cleaners and a
toothbrush to clean every little part.
Perhaps it's the presence
of titanium and carbon fibre, perhaps it's because someone
took an age to assemble it by hand and I am but a mere
custodian. Or perhaps its just the inherent coolness
of its curves and lines.
Mind you, my rose-tinted
spectacles do let some normal light through. My Speedy
eats front tyres for breakfast and washes them down
with a pint of Extra Dry Lube. It makes no concessions
to a pillow-soft ride if the road surface is anything
less than perfect, but then, potholing was probably
never going to be its strength. And its engine has a
frightening capacity for sandwiches and chocolate.
But it's the way it
darts around corners and threatens to tip me off if
I don't lean over enough, it's the thrill of a successful
powerslide in the rain, and it's the whirring harmony
of its components with its frankly eccentric design
that I think has earnt the machine its status. It's
as much a complete pain to live with as it is a delight.