Requiem for a Bike mechanic

He was actually a lot more than a mechanic, he owned the store. It was located on the Jonker Fransstraat, somehow holding it’s own despite the ‘Mega bike store’ 25 meters up the street. For years I happily patronized his small shop. Everything about him and the store breathed the past. The way he always wore a blue apron and the almost antique cast iron sign on the front façade. Many of the products he sold also were of times long past, usually this meant they had a charm, simplicity and especially quality all their own. Very affordable too.

I wouldn’t want to suggest I knew this man. To this day I don’t even know his name. I might try to find out. We weren’t friends but I always liked his civil, subdued and yet professional manner. He was never trying to be overly friendly or pitch a sale. He was however polite enough and very knowledgeable.

One day I wanted to inquire about some parts only he sold. I cycled past the store twice over the course of two weeks and for inexplicable reasons it was closed. Then before I knew it the place had suddenly been emptied out and newspaper covered the windows.

I heard the mechanic -and I use that term as one of respect- had (suddenly?) died of cancer. A lifetime of service and now, to me at least, there is no sign of his store or him ever having existed. That is why I decided to write this. To say thanks.

N.B. There is now some non descript modern business located in the store