I can happily report Deathtrap’s safe return.
The nice chap at the bike shop (he turned out to be an extremely scrupulous individual and I feel very cynical and English for ever thinking otherwise) charged me the equivalent of 40 pounds for a new rear tyre, inner tube, chain and cog thingy.
We even chatted a bit about the merits of Copenhagen compared to London.
His conclusion was that London was big and dirty and it was difficult to disagree.
I left and promised that I would be back when my front tyre burst.
It would be nice to think that we might even develop the kind of relationship Paul Auster likes to write about.
Slightly world-weary individuals bonding in the face of shared adversity.
Or in our case, a Middle Eastern bike trader who takes pity on a painfully callow English chap.
If it really were a Paul Auster novel, he would have invited me in for a cup of tea specially imported from his home country.
As time passes, my visits to his shop become more habitual.
Occasionally we even share a hookah pipe.
When I am made redundant he offers to teach me his trade and soon I am working for him, fixing bikes and continuing my gradual recovery from some unspecified personal loss.
But our harmonious relationship is threatened with the arrival of a mysterious figure from my companion’s shadowy past . . .