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Written by Jerome K. Jerome, this chapter tells the story of the repair of narrator’s bicycle by one of his acquaintances. Though reluctant to allow it, the narrator watches as the man struggles with the bicycle. The narrator’s humorous tone makes the story fun to read.
An acquaintance of the narrator suggests they go on a bicycle ride. Looking forward to an enjoyable day, the narrator wakes up earlier than his usual time and sets out with his beloved bicycle. His friend arrives half an hour after the scheduled time. Much to the narrator’s irritation, he begins to shake narrator’s bicycle roughly.
Pretending to be an expert with machines, the man claims that the front wheel of the bicycle wobbles. Though the bicycle is in perfect condition, the narrator reluctantly lets the man fix the wheel. By the time the narrator fetches a hammer from the shed, the man has already detached the wheel from the machine.
He claims that the ball-bearings of the bicycle are wrongly placed. The narrator is worried about his bicycle being in wrong hands but his politeness prevents him from telling the man to stop meddling with his dear machine. The boastful man makes further remarks about certain things being wrong with the bicycle and goes on to unscrew it further. The chain and the gear-case are also removed.
As the boastful but incompetent friend of the narrator dismantles the machine, the balls roll away on the ground. The poor narrator attempts to gather the balls and puts them in his hat. The two have a hard time finding the screws which roll away too. After much struggle, the two men manage to assemble all the parts only to realise that they have forgotten the balls in the narrator’s hat.
The narrator watches the man wrestle with his bicycle. The sight seems almost like a fight between the man and the bicycle, as the two topple over each other. The narrator’s pitiful situation is laughable as he can only watch his perfectly well-assembled bicycle in the hands of a boastful but incompetent mechanic.
As the narrator comically remarks, both the man and the bicycle suffer in this process. Tired and even bleeding, the man proudly concludes that the bicycle is now perfectly repaired. It seems that the bicycle suffered as much as the man who took upon himself the task of repairing it. The boastful man then cleans himself and leaves, leaving the narrator with his bicycle.