First bicycle, second hand

For the second and last time in a long time in London, Paula bought the Loot newspaper (for the last time). She was finally looking for a bicycle. She now lived about five miles away from work; the ideal distance to travel it by bike. Although she was not sure how comfortable she would be with the traffic, with the exercise. Still, if she managed to do that trip three times a week, she would save money in her travelcards. Even though she was only using bus passes mainly now.
There were more bicycle shops advertised on that paper than single second hand bicycles. Faced with such lack of choice, she checked out a couple of shops. Only one of them offered her a second hand bicycle. How much is that second hand bike, please? A hundred and fifty pounds. Hmmm. A lot of money. About fifteen weeks worth of a bus pass. As in, thought Paula, I will have to go on this bike to work every single day for fifteen weeks in order to recover the investment.
Paula had used a bicycle as a child. But it was a summer toy, and never a proper, needed means of transport. She was not sure she would be able to use it that often, that much. A hundred and fifty pounds was a huge amount of money especially taking into account that she may still have to spend that much on transport if she would not be able to cope with the traffic.
She told the shop assistant that she would think about it.
Then she called the one advert that was offering a single bicycle. Second hand, from a place in the outskirts of London. Fifteen pounds. A tenth of the price of the bike in the shop. Which admittedly was a beautiful bike that looked pretty first hand to Paula. But it was enough to use this other bike for a bit more than two weeks to recoup the money.
With time, Paula ended up having to spend about a hundred pounds having the many things that this bike needed fixing which she of course could not fix herself (“Sorry, darling, I sold you the bike in good faith, and you bought it in good faith, no I am not accepting a return”, had said the seller when she called to complain about all the things that did not work.
Paula grew to regret the decision of not getting the better bike, but that was many years ago, when she saw that of course she could use a bike every single day, and many bikes later.
But for the time being, Paula had a bike almost bigger than herself for a few years. She put mudguards on it after getting one of her office shirts rendered unusable after having it splashed with road water on a rainy day, she bought lights and she bought reflector clothing. She also bought a helmet. And a rack that she never managed to attach to the bike because the bike was not designed to have a rack on it.
Still, when Paula’s mum came to visit her, she proudly showed her her most valuable possession, her private means of transport.