From an early age my dad was always insistent I had Raleigh bikes, they were and still are a true national institution for over 125 years with the bikes designed and built in Nottingham England, so when Karen and I were looking at E-bikes for our travels in Europe, it was not a question of which manufacturer only which model! Raleigh UK bikes were the ride of choice all the way through my childhood for myself and most of my mates who grew up on the same estate in Sturry, Kent during the 70s and 80s. Our bikes provided us with our means of transport and our imaginations provided the rest as long as we were back before dark or when our mums called us in for tea everything was good.
My first bike! Looking at the paint less handlebars I suspect I wasn’t a bad rider but probably not the first owner of this trike or the shorts and cardigan combo, that’s the way it was back then, that’s my excuse for 70s fashion and hand me downs and I’m sticking with it! The picture was taken at my Grandads house in Deansway and his dog was called Chopper, I don’t think after the bike, but he did have a wicked sense of humour so leave name choice reasoning up to you!
I think I was about 3 in this picture and it would have been around the summer of ’76 at our house in St Nicholas, the house hadn’t long been built and I remember the lawn looked like there had been an earthquake with the cracks during the drought, I could often be found inside one trying to retrieve my toys that invariably ended up getting lost inside.
The bike my 2 wheel adventures started on! I remember my dad taking the stabilisers off and launching me down a bank in the park assuring me he had hold of the saddle, he hadn’t but I didn’t know until I had got to the bottom screaming all the way, it was different times back then!
This picture was taken outside my old Primary school, I think the bike was a Raleigh Chipper which was a Chopper for little kids. Note the trousers tucked into socks look, this was essential in the 1970’s to stop your flares getting caught up in the chain.
This little beauty was my Raleigh Striker, my choice of wheels during the late 70’s early 80’s at this time my mates had these, Boxers or the Grifter which had gears and was made from iron girders. We used to set up little courses in the woods and pretend we were in junior kickstart or tear around the estate re-enacting the Dukes of Hazzard arguing over who was Bo & Luke, no one ever wanted to be Sherriff Rosco?
My dad had a thing about mudguards and when all my mates were tearing around on their BMX’s I had a racing bike, I think it was a Pacer? I could beat them on their Raleigh Burners in a straight line but came a poor 2nd when it came to off roading or bunny hops! I would say though I was right on trend for the time with my Adidas tracky and trainers, though not sure about pairing with my school coat! At least my hairstyle remained constant throughout the years (Sunday night Mum cuts!)
Unfortunately bikes seemed to go out of fashion as a teenager as other things became more important in life! I have had bikes since, I used them for a period in my 20’s for commuting to work and in my 30’s for weekend rides, my last mountain bike now takes dusty pride of place in my garage next to my electric guitar! So now in my 40’s its time to rediscover cycling on our travels through Europe albeit at a more leisurely pace and with electric assistance when our knees need it, watch this space for updates on our latest Raleigh bike journey…… #RaleighBikes #GetFurtherGoElectric