book 3 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 99

Bike Show

For me, Wednesday was a day of expectancy. Like I said yesterday, it's a strange start to the school year! Mind you it started with a major embarrassment session, I told you about today's big assembly? Woodsy started off with the usual welcome speech with a special welcome for the exchange students. Then this years new staff members, there are always a few, this year we've got ten new teachers!

Then of course, true to form, he started on a spiel about school expectations, which of course linked into sporting prowess. I mean I was expecting this but it still made me squirm much to my mate's amusement. Yes I'd brought honour to the school and all that stuff but he didn't have to make me go up onto the stage did he?

"Come on Drew over here," I stood next to Mr Wood looking out over a sea of faces, I was breaking out in a nervous sweat, "this, ladies and gentlemen, is Drew Bond, not much to look at eh?" a few nervous giggles came from the newbies, "well looks can be deceiving. In fact Drew here is a talented sportsman, as many of you already know his mother is a champion cyclist and Drew here is following in her wheel marks. Just over three weeks ago, after helping a fellow competitor, he won the North of England championship" there was some polite applause.

"Of course, our school has had regional champions before, swimmers, runners, even our rugby team. But Drew here didn't stop there, no indeed. Ten days ago he rode the National championship event in London. After what I'm told was a very mature ride, Mr Bond here held off all the competition to cross the line in first place. So ladies and gentlemen I give you Drew Bond, this years first sporting ribbon and this schools first national champion!"

He presented me with the ribbon; well actually it's more like a badge, a bar in the school colours with '2002-2003' across it. He stood back then and started the applause, mostly polite but a few of my peers started cheering, I heard Brit's voice, "Go on girl!" I hope no one else heard what she said!

Well after all that it was time to get down to schoolwork. Nothing else of any note happened during the day and home time came around soon enough. Paul had agreed to copy his notes for me, Clive was still moping about Gaby much to Brit's amusement! We, that is me and Brit, went straight home, we've got some packing to do!

Dad's car was on the drive when we got there, fixed but still down for replacement! Once inside the door I got a surprise.

"Gran!" I dropped my bag and rushed over for a hug

"And how's the famous Drew Bond then?"

"Great Gran, I thought you were coming later?"

"I was but your Dad had to go to Manchester so I met him there, we only just got here, so" she released me, "aren't you going to introduce me?"

"Oh sorry Gran, this is Britney. Brit this is my Gran"

"Hello Britney"

"Hi Mrs Bond"

Gran chuckled, "no I'm not a Bond, I'm Drew's Mum's mum, Granny Peters"

"Er so you're like Mad's Gran too?"

"No, no. That's my sister Mary"

"Ah you're in" Dad greeted us, "okay you two, change, homework, dinner will be a proper sit down tonight"

"Yes Dad" I sighed, "come on Brit"

Gran cooked us a great meal then afterwards while the girls and Gran talked I slipped upstairs to pack. There was a knock on my door a few minutes later.

"Come in"

Dad came in and sat on my bed.


"You bet"

"You didn't say that Mr Wood gave you sports colours"

"I sort of forgot with Gran here" I showed Dad the pin on my blazer lapel

"Well done. Are you all set for tomorrow?"

"I've got my camera and passport in my backpack, I've just got to pack my clothes"

"Just don't forget anything eh? In fact I want to see your bag when you've finished"

"Yes Dad" well I haven't exactly got a good track record with packing have I?

Dad left leaving me to sort myself out. A bit later Brit came in.

"I like your Gran, she's nothing like mine"

"Yeah she's pretty cool"

"So you taking skirts and stuff?"

"Nope! Shorts and trousers"

"Why not Gab, I'm sure your Gran would like to see you in a dress occasionally"

I don't think so!

"Er she's cool with Drew"

"Well I still think you should. I'd better go and pack myself, see you in a bit"


We left at eight thirty next morning after Dad had triple checked our bags, passports and tickets, in the end Gran took control of everything! As we set off I just hoped Dad's car would get us there! It's a fair ride down to Luton and the motorway was pretty busy, trucks, cars, coaches, three lanes of traffic all moving sinuously south. Finally though we turned off and followed the signs to the airport up on top of the hill.

You've all been to an airport right? Well Luton is not exactly stylish, most of the planes using it are short haul to Europe, budget airlines and holiday charters. Indeed that's why we're here. Although we are going to Germany we are actually flying to Switzerland! I'll explain later.

Dad joined us for a coffee before we checked in at the EasyJet desk. I joined Dad for a toilet stop; on the way out he pulled me to one side.

"There's a hundred Euros here," he put an envelope in my hand, "behave yourself and try not to embarrass your Mum eh? And give your Mum my love"

"Yes Dad, thanks" I waved the envelope.

We returned to where Brit and Gran were waiting.

"Well take care, have a good time" Dad gave me a hug and Gran a kiss on the cheek. "See you on Sunday!"

With that and a wave he left.

"Okay then you two, lets go" Gran instructed

We walked through to departures and joined the queue, first for passports then security and we bypassed the shops to go straight through to the waiting area. A short impatient wait later and our flight was called, we were on our way! Somehow we managed to get all three of us in one row of seats, no one had a specific booked seat so it was a free for all!

Me and Brit were so busy talking that we were only alerted to the impending take off by the sudden thrust from the engines. We even missed the safety demonstration! Brit and I both peered out of the tiny window as we ascended over the Home Counties, I pointed out the M25 and distant London. Then the seat belt light went out and now above the clouds we settled back to read the in flight magazine while Gran read her book.

"Okay ladies?" the flight attendant asked

"Yes thanks" Brit replied

"Back to school eh girls? Have a nice flight" and then she was gone

"What was that about?" Brit whispered

"No idea" I turned to Gran, "what did she mean Gran, back to school, we're flying to Zurich?"

"I guess with Britney being American she thought you were going to boarding school in Switzerland. Lots of diplomats and so on send their kids to school there"

"Kewl!" Brit purred

"Not sure I fancy that" I stated

An hour later we started to drop down over Switzerland then with a bump we were down. We waited for our bags to appear on the conveyor thing, Gran's was first to turn up then Brit's. Then we waited. And waited. And waited. Bum! Yep it sure looks like my case has gone missing. So Gran went to find someone official, thirty minutes later it was confirmed, my bag never made the flight. Sugar! We filled out the forms and stuff, nothing we could do about it now. I'm glad there wasn't anything important in the case, I nearly put my medals in there this morning, Gran insisted she have them instead. Always listen to Gran!

It was one o'clock local time when we cleared immigration and started following the signs down escalators and across bridges towards the railway station. Mum had already sent us the train tickets so we had a few minutes to kill before going down to the platform.

There were only a few small stores in the plaza, which we peeked into before Gran exclaimed.

"Ah good, we can get a sandwich or something" she pointed to an open shop front with 'Migros' over the entrance

"What's that?" I asked

"By the looks of it, some sort of food shop, anyway they've got sandwiches, I've seen someone coming out with one" Gran informed us. Brit and I dragged our cases along behind her into what did indeed turn out to be a supermarket.

Why the sudden food fixation? Well it was a budget flight and there was no in flight food and the drinks cost a fortune! So now it's fair to say we're all famished and my stomach has been rumbling all through the airport! Did I say supermarket? Well Sainsbury's it wasn't, no it was more like the grocer in Warsop except for the stuff on offer. Gran cooed and aawed as she led the way round.

"Er Gran" Brit started, Gran told her to call her that, "What time is the train?"

"Oh sorry kids, come on I'll just get some fruit and we'll go"

We added some apples to our sandwiches and we were soon on the escalator down to the platform. Not a minute too soon as our train whooshed into the subterranean station.

"Cool train" I mentioned as we headed for a door. Well compared to the rattley things at home it was certainly different being double decked. Brit led the way upstairs and we were soon sat in facing seats. It wasn't crowded, everyone had a seat and we were soon speeding out into the northern Swiss countryside.

"I thought Switzerland was all mountains," Brit mentioned

"Apparently not" Gran agreed. We watched the rolling countryside flash past the window and when a young guy came through with refreshments, Gran got us some drinks and we started on our late lunch. We had a brief stop at a place called Winterthur then another shortly after. Gran was back reading her book while Brit and I continued watching Switzerland flash past.

Another stop at a station where the yellow buses were clearly waiting for the train. Gran checked her watch.

"Must be nearly there kids"

"Germany?" I asked

Gran chuckled, "no, we've got a ferry to catch yet"

"Ferry?" Brit asked

"Yes, Jenny said it takes about an hour, Germany is on the other side"

"So the train goes on the ferry?" I asked

"No! Apparently the railway station is right next to the ferry"

"Kewl!" Brit stated

Our train pulled to a halt and we descended into the afternoon sunshine of Romanshorn, Mum was right, the platform was right next to the little harbour. Brit had us pose under the station board and a bemused railway worker took our picture. Then we followed the signs around the quay to wait for the ferry to come in. We didn't wait long and with a clatter of steel against steel the little ferry docked and unshipped its cargo of trucks and cars. Then with a wave from the deck hand we joined the assorted cyclists, vehicles and foot passengers on board.


We got ourselves settled on one of the outside seats and with more clangs and bangs we started the last leg of today's journey. We watched fascinated as we passed a waterside park with what looked like giant dandelion clocks, I think they were some sort of fountains but you couldn't really tell from the ferry.

"Wow it's a big river," Brit stated as we cleared the Swiss shoreline

"It's not a river Brit, this is Lake Constance" Gran informed us

"This map hasn't got it on," I told them, brandishing a leaflet I picked up at Romanshorn, "it's just got something called Bodensee"

"I think that's what the locals call it" Gran suggested

"Yeah it says that Boden thing up there," Brit pointed to a board on the side of the cabin.

"There's your mountains Britney" Gran pointed behind us

Sure enough, back behind us we could see what we couldn't when we were actually in Switzerland, the Alps marching across the southern horizon. I'm sure there was snow on some of the more distant peaks, well they looked white anyway! The afternoon was glorious, the views, the weather, out here in the middle of the lake, well it was well fine! Brit and I both sat drinking in the view, watching the sailing boats as they skipped over the almost smooth waters.


"Ooh Drew, have you brought your phone? your Mum said to ring when we got to the ferry"

"Yeah hang on" I delved into my backpack and found my phone, "what's the number?"

Gran passed me a slip of paper and I keyed in the digits then hit dial. It rang about three times before a voice sounded at the other end.

"Hallo" the man said rather non committaly

"Erm sorry I think I got the wrong number" I said oblivious to whether he could understand English

"You want Jenny?" he asked

"Er yes" I stumbled with the words

"Moment" I heard a shout 'Jenny! Telefon!'

A minute later there was a familiar voice at the other end.

"Hello, sie möchten mich?"

"Mum, it's me, we're here!"

"Drew, where are you?"

"In the middle of the lake"

"Okay, look when you get off the ferry, get a taxi to the Hotel Ibis, it's next to the main railway station. You had a good trip?"

"Yeah great"

"I'm gonna have to go, I'll see you in a few minutes in the hotel reception. Bye luv"

"Bye Mum"

"Well?" Gran asked

"She said to get a taxi when we get off, it's the Hotel Ibis"

"That must be where we're going" Brit pointed ahead to where a town was gradually appearing.

"Guess so," I agreed

"Friedrichshafen" Gran told us

We watched as the ferry closed in on the harbour, from here at least it looks like a nice place.


The ferry landed with a clank and we joined the other foot passengers waiting to disembark. I hadn't given it any thought but this was a border control.

"Pass bitte?" the uniformed official called out.

"What was that?" Brit asked

I spotted what he was about, "passports Gran"

"Oh right" she dug into her handbag for our documents as we shuffled up the ramp. As we reached the front of the queue she passed them to the official.

He flipped them open, taking a moment to check Brit's visa. He looked a bit puzzled as he looked at mine but returned the paperwork to us.

"Have a pleasant stay ladies"

"Thank you," Gran mentioned, "where can we get a taxi please?"

"Just at the end of the building here" he pointed inland.

"Thank you"

"Danke shun" I offered, hey I'm not exactly bi-lingual!

"My pleasure" he replied in perfect English.

We walked in the indicated direction, there was a taxi sat on the rank and we were soon headed along to our hotel. The journey took about ten minutes, mostly due to the number of traffic lights and we were met by Mum at the kerb.

"Hiya champ, give your Mum a hug"

Well you think I needed an invitation! Gran was included as well; I broke off after a minute.

"Mum, this is Britney Walters, Brit this is my Mum"

"Nice to finally meet you Mrs Bond, Drew has told me all about you"

"Not all I hope Britney, well lets get you settled in, where's your case Drew?"

Later in the evening the four of us walked along to the town through the lakeside park where we joined loads of other diners at a table outside one of the restaurants. This is just so cool! Mum had lent me a pair of jeans and found a plain t-shirt for me to wear; first thing in the morning we'd do a quick emergency shop.

Mum and I caught up over dinner, Brit was agog at some of Mums stories and I could see that she was definitely more impressed by the real thing than my second hand version.

"I'd best warn you, I've got some work to do tomorrow afternoon and for some of Saturday but I'm all yours the rest of the time. And Drew, Kat is coming down with Maria tomorrow night."

"Great, did I tell you about Kat Brit?"

"I don't think so"

So I did over dessert while Mum and Gran did the mother daughter thing.

"Your Mum is so cool!" Brit told me as we walked through the gathering gloom back to the hotel.

"Yep, I told you she was"

"Er Drew? Gaby?"

"Hmmm?" I looked out across the inland sea

"I've an admission to make"

"You're an alien from Alpha Centauri" I joked

"Don't be daft! No, I erm, okay I packed some of your stuff in my case."


"Look sorry, but I packed some of your skirts and stuff, I thought your Mum would like to see you looking like a girl for a change. I'm sorry Gab"

I sighed deeply and kicked at a stone

"You okay Drew?" Mum asked from behind us

"Yeah" I allowed

"Sorry Ms Bond, I just told Gab that I've brought some of her skirts and stuff, save you going shopping in the morning"

"Gaby?" Gran queried

"It's alright Mum, I'll explain later. Thanks Britney, I don't know what's going on here but I'm sure 'Gaby' here appreciates your help. Don't you?"

"Yes Mum, er thanks Brit it was very thoughtful," I added with a slight edge to my voice.

Mum must have given Gran some sort of explanation because when I appeared at breakfast in a denim skirt and sun top she never said a word. Me, I was spitting feathers, I did not envisage spending this trip in skirts. It's so unfair!

 Messe bus

After breakfast we crossed to the bus stands to catch the free bus to the exhibition centre. Mum distributed our show paperwork and passes, trade, access all areas - kewl! I couldn't believe the traffic when we got out near the show grounds, the bus got priority from the policemen directing traffic and we were soon joining the crowds waiting for the doors to open.

There seemed to be a murmur around us and I thought I'd been rumbled! But no it wasn't me that was causing the whispering, no it was Mum! Within minutes we were surrounded by loads of clamouring fans, even in her casual clothes Mum had been recognised. It was only the opening of the gates that finally allowed us to escape.

"Is it always like that Jen?" Gran asked

"No, Mum. Sometimes it's worse" Mum joked

"I never realised you were so famous luv"

"Infamous more like. So where do you want to start? I need to be in Hall B3 at twelve but I'm yours till then."

"How about A1 and work our way along kids" Gran suggested

"Er yeah okay" I allowed

You ever been to one of these things? Talk about overawed; everywhere you looked there were bikes, bike bits and so on fourteen halls plus an outside area, bike heaven! We walked around checking out all sorts of stuff. Several times Mum was caught for autographs, the weirdest thing is that apart from the guys at the restaurant in Worksop, no one gives Mum a second look back at home!

By the time Mum left us for her meeting we'd seen three halls so we piled into the courtyard and joined a queue for frites and sausage. We sat with the crowds already having an early lunch and rested our feet.

"Come here Gaby, your shoulders are burning a bit, I've got some lotion in my bag" Gran told me

"Thanks Gran"

She slipped the straps off my shoulders and rubbed the soothing cream in.

"You okay Britney?"

"Yes thanks ma'am"

"So you two ready for some more?"

We returned to the halls, I was collecting brochures left right and centre; I was stuffing the latest batch into my pack when I felt a tug on my elbow.


"Cute outfits" Brit pulled my arm to get my attention.

foxy babes

"Sooner them than me" I allowed spotting the two girls handing out flyers. Brit chuckled at that, after all I was not exactly dressed that differently.

They were certainly getting plenty of attention from the mostly male show goers. I guess that was the idea.

"Frowline?" the guy made his way past when I stepped out of the way.

"Come on Gab, get with it. We doing the fashion show?"

"Yes please" Gran put in, "I need a sit down"

The tannoy announced the imminent start of the show in four languages so we headed towards the show stage. We plonked ourselves down in the auditorium and with typical German efficiency, at precisely one forty-five the show started. If you've seen fashion shows on the telly, compared to this they are well boring! There were six models, two blokes and four girls and this was no strut down a catwalk.

The show was split into themes, sport, race and casual and in each category there were separate bits for each brand. The models kept us mesmerised, dancing and cavorting in front of a backdrop with a sort of home movie of cycling playing on it. To be honest, I was watching the models more than what they were wearing! One of the girls was, I'm certain, winking at me!

There was a short break between the parts and the middle bit, the race clothing was heralded by the thumping beat of 'Tour de France' by Kraftwerk. I recognised it from the telly coverage of Mum's tour back in June. The girls modelled some cool road kit then the two guys burst onto the stage as the music changed to some vaguely familiar hip hop tune. We were treated to a couple of minutes of acrobatics and street dancing which had the crowd cheering and clapping, the clothing all but forgotten!

Finally the third session started, the girls came out wearing what I guess was Victorian bike kit! The pace was much slower as they twirled their parasols and strutted around the stage, there was that wink again! Then the pace of the music changed and the long dresses were gone leaving the girls in modern leisure kit. The guys, recovered now from their energetic performance came out in casual kit replacing the girls and did a semi striptease much to Brits delight, hey it's a bike show, they went down to vest and pants! A couple of minutes later and it was all over, lots of clapping and whistling then we joined everyone filing outside.

"That was cool, those guys!" Brit sighed

"It wasn't what I was expecting" Gran mentioned

"That girl with the braids kept winking at me" I told them

"Must fancy you girl!" Brit joked

We'd arranged to meet Mum at three so we hit the halls again. There was all sorts of stuff and to be honest a lot of it didn't interest me at all, I mean can you get excited by a bike lock or Barbie bikes? Didn't think so. We made our way around halls with bike brands I've never heard of to famous names that even non cyclists know! By the time we found Mum, once again having an impromptu autograph session, we were footsore and pretty much biked out!

"So you enjoying yourselves?" Mum asked after she divested herself of the fans

"You need a body guard Mrs B" Brit stated

"Why? Oh the rabid fans!" Mum chuckled

"Finished your meetings?" Gran asked

"Yes, I can't say anything here though, you never know who's listening. Have you been in B1 yet Drew?"

"No, we're saving that side until tomorrow, why?"

"Doesn't matter, it can wait. So you want to look at more bikes or have you had enough for today"

I looked at Gran, then Brit. It really would be selfish to look at more today.

"I think we've had enough for one day," I told her, the looks on the others faces showed that I'd made the right call!

"Okay, well the Pingers will be here about eight, I said we'd eat when they get here so how about we go explore the town for a couple of hours?"

"As long as I can get a cuppa" Gran allowed

"Come on then" Mum led us out of the halls and into the bright afternoon sun; we spotted the bus back into the town and climbed on board.

 Messe bus 2

A few others had obviously reached the same point by the looks on their faces! The traffic was much lighter now and we were soon stepping off at the main bus station. I'm not quite sure how but we started off in the wrong direction and found ourselves in a little park on the waterfront. Brit spotted the ferry that we used yesterday and we headed back that way, not before David Bailey here got a picture though!

 Friedrichshafen evening

"Hey there's a museum," Brit pointed to a big white building next to the harbour.

"Zeppelin Museum" I read from the sign, "what's that then?"

"Let's have a look," Mum suggested We followed the signs to the entrance.

"Looks like some sort of balloons" Brit commented

"Not balloons, airships" Gran stated, "that might be quite interesting"

"Well it shuts at five, how about we have a look on Sunday before you go home?" Mum as usual was talking sense.

"Okay, I suppose we have to look around the shops then"

"Oh come on Gab, you know you enjoy it really" Brit enthused

I just rolled my eyes at Mum and Gran. Mum just smirked.

"Come on then, lets have a look round."

"Are you ready yet Gab!" Brit shouted through the door

"Just about" I replied with no enthusiasm. I sat on the bed and slipped the shoes onto my feet. To say I wasn't amused would be putting it lightly, as if losing my case and having to wear girls stuff wasn't bad enough, now I have to wear a bloomin' dress and girls sandals to go to dinner with Kat and Maria. 'Snot fair!

"Can I come in?"

"I guess"

Brit came into my room, at least that's something, I got my own room this time!

"Oh come on Gab, you need some make up on"


"Look, Brit knows best! Hang on I'll get mine and sort you out"

She was off in a flash. So okay I've worn makeup before. One thing I've not done is put it on myself, it's always been Jules or Mad, even Mum and Sylv have 'done me up' but never me. I'd prefer to keep it that way. Brit was soon back with a huge bag of cosmetics and with a sigh I submitted to her ministrations.

Half an hour later I slumped into one of the sofas in reception. It's been a while since I've had this much makeup on and Brit insisted on doing my nails too, 'Coconut Ice', whoopee. Sorry if I don't sound very enthusiastic. I glared at pink toenails and quietly fumed.

"There you are" Gran's voice came from behind me, "where's Drew Jen?"

"Gran! I'm here," I stated through gritted teeth

"Oh sorry luv, you looked just like your Mum from behind"

"Not you too Gran"

"I don't know what's going on here young man, but when I say you look like your Mum, that's a compliment."

"But Gran!" I whined

"We'll talk later. For now you look like a young Jenny, hmm, hang on a minute" she dug into her bag and fished around for a minute or two, "I thought so, I never wear them so you might as well have them. Come here"

Would you argue with your Gran? Well I don't. I got up and stood in front of her. I saw a glint in her hand then she fiddled first with one ear then the other. I felt the slight tug on each ear and caught a quick glance of a short drop earring on my reflection from the window.

"There, that's better" she brushed a stray strand of my wayward and slightly pink hair behind my ear, "you really look like a Peters girl now!"

That's all I need! Before I could dwell on the subject there was an excited shout from the door.

"Gaby!" I looked around; to find Kat launching herself at me, "I thought it was you" she added crushing me in a hug. Brit and Mum chose that moment to arrive so with Maria it was a big round of introductions.

"Nice earrings Gab" Brit whispered

"Er yeah. Gran gave them to me"

"Real diamonds cool"

The Pingers did the quickest change I've ever known women to do, just fifteen minutes then the six of us piled into the Appollinaris team car that Maria had driven down.

"Where are we going?" I asked

"The girl on reception told me about a really good place about five kilometres away" Mum informed us before giving Maria more directions.

Well the advice was good. It turned out to be a traditional country pub and it was packed with people eating and drinking. We managed to get a table and after a short wait we ordered our food and some wine. It was a brilliant evening; I forgot how I was dressed, well until I needed a wee! Brit and Kat were getting along like a house on fire; I missed a lot of their conversation, as I was deeply engrossed in telling Maria all about my famous victories. Gran produced my medals and that started another round of stories, it was well late by the time we got back to the hotel.

I lay in bed contemplating the day, the show is great, that fashion show was pretty cool, mind you that girl winking at me was a bit odd. Then I thought again, I was wearing girl's stuff, my god; she thought she was winking at a girl! That creeped me out even more! Seeing Kat again is brill and we get to hang out together tomorrow - cool. That all carbon bike was pretty neat. One day...

Maddy Bell 23.05.04 Secret © 2004

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