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
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.