Author Topic: I remember when...  (Read 176 times)

rafiki

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I remember when...
« on: February 23, 2019, 01:34:29 PM »
In another thread @tyreon mentioned being brought up in the 1950s and it brought back many memories for me too. At an early age sometime in the late 1940s I rode a trike. My father bought me my first 'proper' bike in the early fifties (probably 1952). It was a Raleigh. Red and white I remember. Steel and other raw materials were in such short supply I had to wait months for delivery. I remember visiting the LBS every Saturday morning to check if it had arrived. One glorious Saturday I received the reply "Yes, boy, it's here." and they wheeled it out from the back room. They set it up for me and I rode it home with a huge smile on my face. I guess I must have been eight years old. It had been sized 'plenty big enough' so I kept it for many years. I loved that bike. I recall my friend and I cycling from Burnham (Buckinghamshire) all the way along the A4 to London Heathrow Airport for plane-spotting from the top of the Queen's Building overlooking the apron. No terrorist precautions in then. It was about 13 miles each way I recall. Traffic was very light in those days and one could cycle anywhere. Trips such as through Windsor as far as Staines were common. I pleaded with my mother to buy me one of those Sturmey Archer mileometers to measure our trips. My parents didn't have much but after about a month in which time she had saved up the half a crown (2 shillings and sixpence) and gave it to me one Saturday morning and I raced to the LBS to get it. Memories of folding up cardboard cigarette packets and sticking them through the brake into the spokes so as to make a sound like a motorbike as we thought! Whilst train spotting, riding away from the train lines down an alley lined with fencing, hearing another train coming, racing back towards the line, standing on the pedals to look over the fencing so as not to miss the train, forgetting the concrete post set in the middle of the path to stop cars entering the alley, seeing the post only in the last second, my face smashing into the concrete! Oh the blood, the pain, the shame being walked home by a passer-by. Sitting on my father's 'big' Raleigh with a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub when it was parked in the shed. Leaning against the wall pedaling backwards. Graduating to that bike when Dad bought his first motor bike - a Francis Barnet 197 two-stroke. How proud I was riding his bicycle - with gears! And lights - a dynohub! I kept that bike into the mid-sixties. I used to love cycling out through the Hertfordshire countryside in the evenings (Dad had moved for his job). I remember one evening, parking the bike and sitting on a raised bank along the roadside watching a tractor ploughing a field. So tranquil. It was at that moment I decided I wanted to study agriculture. I had a job in a nearby village and used to race another cyclist along the towpath every morning, rain or shine, freezing or warm, collecting the samples from the factory and carrying them in the saddlebag (not sure if it wasn't a Brookes) to the lab where I worked. I rode that route for a couple of years. Then I bought a Car!