The old man and his bicycle were similar in appearance. Both were large of frame, rawboned, weather beaten, and had a look that said they would do. The old man had spent a lifetime wresting a living from his north country hill farm and the experience of it was written clearly on his face. His bicycle also showed evidence of having been used long and hard. The old man had purchased the bicycle at an auction which was held periodically by the Postal Servlce and Local Constabulary for the purpose of retiring older machines. The old man had no use for motor cars deeming them to be noisy, smelly, and a bottomless pit of expense. There was no place he wanted to go that could not be reached by bicycle.
The bicycle had no aspect of beauty about it. Its black paint had lost its lustre long ago, and was liberally laced with scratches and a few dents. The bright work while still largely intact, showed evidence of rust and corrosion removed. The saddle was made of thick leather with an underframe of springs and brackets which softened the ride. Large brass rivets used to attach the saddle to its frame formed an arc across the back surface of the saddle. The saddle had been black when new but was now a nondescript, mottled, grey/black color with worn patches of undyed leather showing through. From the rear of the saddle hung a shapeless bag made of treated canvas which was secured by straps and buckles ragged and worn. A pair of panniers similar in appearance was draped over the rear fender. The most notable aspect of the bicycle was the complex assemblage of levers, linkages, rods, and brackets mounted on the handlebars, forks, and frame, that comprised the braking system. The bicycle was unusually large which is what attracted the old man to its purchase. He was a big man and the large bicycle had proved in its previous service that it was well suited to negotiate rough hill roads and unpaved country lanes in all weathers.