Celia is my bike. She is a Raleigh Shopper. The man in the local bike shop showed me that the month and year a Raleigh was made is stamped on the back hub. Celia was born in May 1980. That means she's 30 next year, which is a damn good excuse for a party. Anyway, Celia was discovered discarded in a skip, bless her. I am something of a skip monkey so I liberated her and have been using her to get round Manchester on ever since. She is more than a bike; she represents freedom. She is called Celia because Helen used to have a ladies' bike called Delia, and I thought it was pretty appropriate for a ladies' shopper. My last shopper was a green Puch painted with daisies. She was called Fleur. If anyone knows of her whereabouts, let me know. I wish I'd kept her; she and Celia might get on quite well. Oh well. That's an aside.
Back to Celia, who is more than just a bike; she's like an extension of my personality. On Friday, I went to The Lowry at Salford Quays to watch a puppet show (see Twitter feed for more on that). I was going to scoot over as it's in the middle of nowhere, but I couldn't get the scooter off its rusty old stand. Anyway, that's another aside... basically, I ended up pegging over on Celia, but when I came out of the theatre, she was gone! I texted Mr C: "Bad bad news. Celia is no more." I got a taxi back home, pretty upset but focused on my mission: to go out in Mr C's car and look for my girl.
Do you know what? After an hour or so, I found her. She was being ridden around by a teenage hoody in Gorse Hill. He'd lowered the seat right down to appear more rad. Well, she has been known to enjoy a BMX track near Southern Cemetary; he must've known. Thankfully the lad seemed to like her bell and was a-ding-dingling away, grabbing my attention. I sped off to park the car and approached him and his gang o' mates, said "Wow, you found my bike!", and he gave her back. Just like that. No problem. No knives pulled. No guns. Not even a fuck off. I even got a bunch of Manc hoodies into the whole personification thing, them saying, "What did you say she was called?" SHE!!! Anyway, I went back to the car, bundled Celia in while quietly panicking because the yoofs had followed me up the back street, and made a getaway.
Poor Celia was slightly damaged in the incident (mentally, I guess, as well as physically) and was relieved of her front wire and back tartan baskets (not cool enough, presumably - because like a Shopper is way cool for a teenage boy to be pulling wheelies on, right?), but at least she didn't end up in a watery grave at the bottom of the Quays, which was apparently what she had been threatened with earlier in the evening.
I am so happy to have Celia back. She even got to go on the Big Green Bike Parade.
Long live Celia!