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1970s

I have ridden a bike since I was about four years old. I still remember the day my father took the stabilizers off my Raleigh Budgie. He ran along holding the back of the seat for a time, and then he let go and I rolled off rather shakily down a grass slope before swerving out of control and into the back of a deck chair. “Lucky it was empty!” the angry family scolded, “The baby was in there until just a minute ago…” That would have been quite sight. Flying kid…

Budgie

Source http://www.rnlawrence.btinternet.co.uk/tomahawk.htm

Duthie Park, Aberdeen

Source: Charles C. Benton - http://arch.ced.berkeley.edu/kap/others/vdelsen2.html

My family moved to Dundee in 1976. I used to ride on my Raleigh Commando around the pathways that were part of the huge Victorian mansion that was split into council employee apartments. All the other kids used to do the same. It was great. One day a washing pole fell over and landed on my hand – I’ve still got the scar. Later we were allowed to ride up the road to the next junction, but no further. Beyond the junction was a relatively steep descent and at that age God knows what lay at the bottom, and indeed would we ever get up again if we did go down. But of course one day my friend Jonathan Carter and I decided that we needed to find out and we sped off down that forbidden hill, only for me to spin out of control and hit a lamppost. I ended up in hospital with a bizarre injury. The brake lever had gone into my abdomen, just an inch or so above my privates. They had to do tests to see if I’d punctured my bladder. If anyone (preferably of Halle Berry standard) cares to inspect I’m sure they’d still see the scars.

commando

Credit: http://www.yodathewise.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Other%20raleighs/comand1.jpg

Around the age of ten I remember seeing a racing bike. It belonged to a rather wild and different kid in my class named Andrew Keenan, a brilliant swimmer. He was flying along the road on this Eddy Merckx (whoever he was) sports bike with the mini mudguards under the brake calipers. He yelled, “Tenth gear!” as he stomped along. I turned to Jonathan Carter and said, “Who needs ten gears? I mean who races anyway?” I’d had my eye on a green Halfords bike with five gears and a pannier rack, lights, the lot.

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