In his dreams it is red and shiny with glittering, silvery wheels.

He will mount his dream machine and pedal his way to the summit of Mount Olympus. All he can think of is the older boys, impossibly tall and strong, lazily steering their their machines with cruel ease. Some pedal away furiously, standing clear of the saddle in an attempt to blur the landscape with blistering speed. Then there are those who take long, easy swings at their pedals, managing to ride with a swagger if that could possibly be.

His own ticket to freewheeling Nirvana is just a day away.

And the morning arrives. A sleepless night melts gently into the sudden lucid awareness that this is the day he has been waiting for since...all his life really. His dreams have transformed a few pounds of metal and plastic into the chariot of the gods, the passport to acceptance, a name on the streets, the secret of flight.

Trainer wheels are out of the question. How could he ever live that down?
It must be easy. It has to be. All the others whizz along with less effort that in had taken them to eat breakfast.

Finally he's astride, one foot on the pedal, good to go. Only the bloody thing falls over. He picks himself up with dignity, righting his steed for the next attempt.

Now he's not so confident, hating the older ones for making it seem like the most trivial of feats. Back to the balancing act, our trapeze artist makes another effort at taming the beast. The beast that has gradually lost its lustre and manages to look as menacing now as it had seemed enticing only a few minutes ago.

Another fall.

This time he stands up quickly and kicks the handlebars viciously. He knows it won't help but feels better after that. Now he's pointing the front wheel towards a gentle decline. Maybe, just maybe, if he doesn't have to pedal, there's one less activity to coordinate.

He's freewheeling uncertain and unsteady, but progress has been made. The chrome resurfaces and gleams in the afternoon sun. The red lacquer has regained its splendid shine and for a few moments our little gymnast's insides soar high above the the village, scraping the fluffy, white clouds in a playful gesture of companionship with the celestial cotton-wool.

He's picking up speed now and tugs at the handle-bars with a little more vigour than necessary, sending him sliding into a tangle of limbs and wheels and glossy red tubes.

Respect for the joy-machine starts to rise within him as he inspects it for scratches before diverting attention to his own bleeding shins. His scratches are shrugged off as battle scars but the problems that gravity and equilibrium are posing cannot be resolved as easily as Galileo and Newton would have us believe.

Nothing really magical but a nodeshell rescue nonetheless.