The Orange Bicycle has been a part of our family for the last 20 years. Although it was not an Orange Bicycle to start with. My name is Neda and this is my story:
I always liked bicycles. My dad bought me a big bike when I was 9. I hardly could reach the pedals but I loved it and I knew this bike will be good for the next few years. Little that I knew was the Islamic revolution that happened in Iran when I was 10. The social rules and laws specially regarding women started to change little by little! In a couple of years the head scarf became mandatory and I can't remember the exact date of banning the bike ride for the girls! I couldn't bear giving it up. I was a tomboy with short hair and flat chest so for the next few years I pretended that I'm a boy and rode my bike as a confident boy! This continued till the age of 16 that started to get a bit risky and my parents convinced me that it was time to set apart from my bike for my own safety!
I never forget the day that my dad and I went and sold my bike. With the money I bought table tennis rackets and started to play right away.
I grew up and became a photographer. In my 20s I won the first prize in a photo competition that happened to be a mountain bike! I guess they didn't consider that may be a girl will win the contest! Oh well I never could ride it and had to sell it with a heavy heart!
Well finally at age 29 I immigrated to the free land! I could not wait to buy a bike and start riding again. The second month after I moved to Toronto I went to Kensington market for a stroll. In my wallet I had $80 that I got from my part time job. I loved the ethnicity of Kensington market; it reminded me of the fruit market back home. I went to a store and bought a pint of the freshest strawberries for $3.99 and put it in my backpack.
As I was looking for different stores I noticed the bike shop and decided to go in. I spotted a second hand racing bike. The lady came to help me out and asked me if I like to take it for a spin around the block. I asked her the price and she said its $80 plus tax. I started to do the math in my head and it was obvious that I will be short a few bucks! I
accepted the test ride anyway and took the bike out. Oh the joy of riding came back as soon as I started to pedal. I was on top of the world again just about $10 to $15 short! On the way back to the bike shop I was trying different scenarios in my head to convince the lady for a possible discount! So I got back and told her that I love the bike and I wanted it but I just had $80 on me. After going back and forth she agreed to sell it for $80 tax in. Now I had to confess that I was still $4 short! Damn fresh strawberries!
I told her to give me a few minutes and I'll be back. I ran into the fruit shop and asked the young girl if I can return the berries that I bought a few minutes ago. She looked at me as if she never heard such a weird request before, but said it was fine. I thanked her and got my $4 back! I felt like I'm flying back to the bike shop. I paid $80 and picked up my brand new second hand bike!
Before getting back home I had one more stop. I stopped at Nick's house to show him that I can ride a bike. I just met him couple weeks before and told him how much I love to bike. When I told him that I wasn't allow to ride for quite a few years he kept asking if I still remember how to ride a bike! I was glad to see he was home! I showed off my new bike and my riding skills. Now I could go home! I happily carried my bike into my tiny bachelor apartment as I didn't have a lock yet and couldn't leave her out.
In the next few months I was riding my bike everywhere. At that point I had two part time jobs and was looking for a full time job. I started to date that Nick guy and we eventually moved in together.
From a friend of my mine I heard about this courier company that was hiring a bike messenger. Sure enough I showed up to their office with a copy of my resume. Even though I never competed in Tour De France but with a bachelor degree and my professional work experience I was pretty confident about my abilities. I got the job and from the next day I started to ride 9 hours a day for a living. Imagine the joy of riding while you're getting paid! In the next few months I started to learn all the alleys and short cuts of downtown Toronto. I loved the freedom of working outside. But then it came time to notice that how I was getting ripped off by the company like any other messenger. This was a commission based job with no insurance. It was time to reconsider my options.
I got another job and Nick bought me another bike. But I wasn't going to part with my bike this time! I planted it in the backyard and put some flower baskets on it. I wanted to keep that bike as a reminder of my freedom and my first couple of years in Toronto. We eventually bought our first home in Toronto and of course the bike moved with us. In a few years I decided to paint it to my favorite color, orange and put it in our front garden. At first my neighbors were worried that someone will steal it but I assured them that no one wants my rusty orange bike.
17 years passed, Nick and I decided to move to Bruce peninsula and start our bed and breakfast business and of course my orange bike that was now part of the family moved with us. The mover managed to put it right in the front lawn and I liked it there. For the next few days I was staring at it every day from the kitchen window while I was thinking hard about a name for our business. Till one day it came to me "The Orange Bicycle Guesthouse & Gardens"!
And this is the story of my Orange bicycle!