Level Two. Bikes and Bygone Times.

Level Two. Bikes and Bygone Times.

By Michelle Lloyd.

Bikes and Bygone Times.

Little Herbert had entered the TT Races at school. What were they? Well, the TT Races stood for the Transport and Track Races. Each entrant had to come up with a practical demonstration of a mode of transport thought up by themselves and with which to enter a competition.

Seeking out the assistance of a parent or practical adult, there were several entrants all eager for the prize. TT Races were all about innovation and invention. Invention to Little Herbert signified contemporary, modern design. He could see the type of vehicle he would be entering into the race. An exemplary sleek looking cart body with silver sides and an engine that could make it fly at a mere whim. It was easy to picture it and vivid to see.

Designs were drawn up and as per the rules of the TT Races, Little Herbert painstakingly submitted his artistically and precisely sketched out plans.

Grandpa was the adult chosen on behalf of Little Herbert and therefore he was the one who was meant to oversee his application and give him the go ahead. This was partly because grandpa was the one who was going to be doing the practical build part of the process and had to accept what the plans had suggested.

Little Herbert had no fear. As grandpa was an inventor and master of many made inventions, he was sure that he would approve all of his hard work.

It was with sheer dismay that Little Herbert took his grandpa’s decline to build what he had proposed. He had put effort into those drawings and besides he had actually seen, albeit in his mind’s eye, what his competition vehicle would have been. He complained most heartily to said grandparent, who with a knowing smile came out with one of his preferred expressions… If notions were oceans, then where would we be? That did not help Little Herbert and he told him so, but grandpa calmly took him aside and suggested that with a few alterations, they could build an even better entry.

Little Herbert had been sceptical that anything could have topped his original design, but he went along with his grandpa’s helpful hints and tips. It was all fine up until the wheels were put in place and then all of Little Herbert’s niggles and doubts rushed out at once. He did NOT want his entry to look like that, he cried and could not hold back the emotion. He had worried that as they went along, getting rid of his silver paintwork sides and the slide in and out concealed shoots that could have combatted any opponents in the race, was a bad idea. He had needed all of those elements to give him that ultra modern look. Standing there and appraising the contraption that had been championed by grandad had been a mistake and he felt it one hundred percent. Looking at the entry Little Herbert could not even hear his grandpa’s voice, he felt too dejected because as he swept his gaze over what would be his vehicle of choice for the competition, all he could see was a very traditional version of a… bike.

Nobody was going to get excited over it. The crowds would not go wild. Little Herbert could just imagine it, as they stood at the competition lines and the TT Races began, he would be the only one who had to take part with an outdated vehicle.

Everybody had seen a bike before, even one with hidden acceleration and a nifty stabilising enhancement. It sure did make Little Herbert sad that he had nothing astonishing to show for himself at the starting line.

He hid it well because he did not want to disappoint grandpa. He had put a lot of work into building the bike for him and Little Herbert was not about to be ungracious about it. In his heart though, he knew that he would just be going through the motions and he would not really be able to enjoy participating in the TT Races. When he thought about what he could have had…visions of sleek, silver vehicles shot through his mind and then quite literally he watched them flash past him, as many duplicate types of entry had been designed by other entrants.

Little Herbert could hardly hide his sigh of disappointment as he took to his deliberately shortened saddle and off he set about it. Off he went at first, behind many of his dream vehicles and slowly one by one they all started to lag in front of him. Different reasons prevailed but the same result was had for each of them as sides started to slip and noisy vehicles juddered to a halt. Little Herbert continued on and even over the rougher terrain could stand his ground, as his bike offered him more stability and competence to tackle that part of the course.

Champion Little Herbert could hardly believe it as he took the trophy with pride and won first place. Grandpa’s knowing smile had signified more experience of practically acting on inventive designs and he knew that a style over substance philosophy would not be best suited to a grandchild of his, instead he emphasised the points that he knew would help him and ensure that any weakness would be a thing of the past. Having learnt from history, grandpa knew that a practical approach to his grandson’s objective would earn him the most reward.