Four-legged ‘baby’ loves outings

TAKEN FOR A RIDE: John Balchin of Walmer on his electrical pedal cycle with a very special young passenger, his mixed miniature doberman pinscher called Pickles
TAKEN FOR A RIDE: John Balchin of Walmer on his electrical pedal cycle with a very special young passenger, his mixed miniature doberman pinscher called Pickles

You are more likely to see the sign “Baby on Board” in the back window of a car than on the back of a motorised bicycle and you definitely would hope the baby was strapped in – but John Balchin’s “baby” is not your typical nipper in nappies.

The retired bus driver ferries his four-legged “baby” Pickles – a mixed miniature doberman pinscher – around on the back of his electrical pedal cycle for short trips to the shopping centre nearest to his Walmer home.

Balchin no longer drives a bus or even a car. Although only 61 he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain condition that causes memory loss and dementia.

His wife, Hilda, has kitted him out in a bright reflective vest for his journeys with a note pinned to the vest with his name, address and contact information in case he forgets where he is going, or where he is.

He rarely goes more than a few kilometres from home.

But he still seems pretty sharp: when quizzed on the three bottles of sherry sharing the carrier with Pickles yesterday, he said they contained lubricant for his bike – not for the cyclist!

-Gillian McAinsh

Leave a Reply