The First Up All Steel Bicycle

29 06 2008

Yesterday I was asked to accompany my mother, uncle and aunt to her house in Kuala Selangor. My aunt had recently lost her husband (My uncle passed away at the age of 82 from complications resulting from a stroke) and this trip was made to meet up with his children (from his first marriage) and her daughter to settle her affairs with them. Her house is to be sold after settling all family matters today. So closing a long chapter in her life.

So after an early Sunday morning breakfast, the four of us got into my uncle’s car and started our journey to Kuala Selangor. The journey there via a slightly different route was quite educational. My uncle took us on a route I have not used for at least 8 years and my how things have changed.

My late uncle’s belongings were to be divided among his children who were all in attendance today. With permission from my Aunt, they started sifting through his possessions and deciding which ones would go to whom. Being a simple man for most of his life, my late uncle did not have many possessions. But as I walked through the small house I saw something that piqued my interest. Under a pile of old clothing, a long coil of soiled rope and old newspapers was an old bicycle, still upright on it’s sidestand.

The First Up Bicycle

The bicycle is of an all steel construction as professed by the many stickers on the bicycle, “The First Up, the all steel bicycle”. Although i did not have a scale, it easily weighed in at over 20 kilogrammes. I particularly liked the promise written on the downtube of the bicycle, ” First Up Bicycles are manufactured to last a lifetime of good riding”. I would bet that if I took over the bicycle, it would even outlive me and still provide some excellent riding. They don’t make them like they used to anymore.

At the front fork of the bicycle was something I rarely ever see anymore, a dynamo to power the single light on the bicycle for night riding. Nowadays most lights are powered by batteries. Inspecting the bicycle closely, I found that under all that dust was a paintwork is still not tarnished by rust. The accessories like brake calipers and rims all showed signs of rust but not the bicycle frame itself! Now that is what I call workmanship. And finally I discovered some that each bicycle produced by this company had been given unique serial number which can be found on the seat post clamp.

As we sifted through more of my uncles belongings we realised that he had kept newspapers from as far back as 23years ago! even the newspapers that he used to line his drawers were at least 5 to 6 years old.

This newspaper was dated the 8th of February 1983. Some 23 years ago! It carried 4 pages of pictures on the 80th birthday of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s First Prime Minister. My uncle it seemed was a great fan of this man. Just before noon, my uncle who is actually brother in law to both my mother and aunt gathered everyone of the children around the front of the house to discuss any outstanding issues and bring my late uncle’s affairs to an amicable close.

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