The Magical Bicycle

Everybody I know can ride it. There must be a spell on bikes, I decided.

When I was little my dad brought me a tricycle home on the train. I really loved it, but I’d only had it a day when it was stolen by a big boy, and Dad said he couldn’t afford to buy me another one. A few years later my big sister Jean bought me a bicycle out of her savings. She and Dad taught me to ride. They used to run up and down the entry with me, hanging on to the saddle so I didn’t fall off. I thought I would never learn to ride it! And then, one day, I did…

My publishers, Collins, asked the marvellous artist, Christian Birmingham, to illustrate this book for me. When I went to see his early ideas for it (they’re called roughs) I was amazed to see that he’d drawn a little boy instead of a little girl. But it’s about me, I said. No it isn’t, he said. It’s about me. And he’s quite right – it’s about both of us. I hope when you read it you will remember what it feels like to be learning to ride your very first bike – whether you’re a boy or a girl. Christian has drawn quite a few things that aren’t mentioned in the story – can you find out what they are?

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