When I was nineteen, I spent the summer working on a campsite in Carnac in Brittany. I worked for a cheapskate camping company that wouldn't buy its couriers mobylettes which was a shame because riding a mobylette was really the best thing about being a courier. One day I went to a hypermarket in Vannes and bought a bicycle. It was a lovely brick red model with a basket on the front and "Jacques Anquetil" emblazoned in ochre letters on the frame.
At the end of the summer I took the bike back with me to Edinburgh and spent my student years using it on and off to cycle up and down hills in the city. Then I came to live in France and I can't quite remember how, but the bicycle came back over too at some point. I think I neglected it a bit for a while, not because I had learned how to drive (although I had) but because Bordeaux is a compact city and I tended to walk everywhere.
Then I rediscovered the joys of sailing past cars in traffic jams and started cycling to work. But at some time in the nineties my trusty bicycle was stolen from the university garage.
I have a beautiful new bike now, but whenever I see an old one that's just the right shape and the right colour and with the same replacement lamp at the front as my old one, I still do a quick check to see if it says "Jacques Anquetil" on the frame. I'm not quite sure what I would do if it did, run after it and challenge the owner to prove that it was really theirs, as opposed to mine from 10+ years ago?