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Saturday … I loved my Racer!!

September 14, 2013

downloadI have a bike; since I was a child it has been my favoured mode of transport.  Such language barely suits my first cycles that were always in need of repair!  However, I soon learned how to do the basic stuff to get it roadworthy particularly later when I needed it for my daily paper round and to get to school on time.

My first bike had no brakes but an overly efficient fixed back wheel that stopped the bike when the rider back peddled.  It was the bicycle I learned on; very quickly, after I found myself in a ditch or a bed of stinging nettles; when I misjudged the braking mechanism.  

When I started secondary school I was given a second hand cycle; had I passed my eleven plus; it would have been shiny and new! The Raleigh racing bike with a boy’s frame, derailleur gears  and dropped handlebars was bought for a guinea (£1.10) from a local auction.  The toe clips,  dragged on the ground with a distinctive click when the bike was being pushed. It was little too large for me and not easy to ride with large bag of newspapers on my paper round.  So I borrowed a butcher’s bike from a friend;  it weighed a ton but at least I didn’t have to carry a huge bag over my shoulder.  It would drown a little girl who was not yet 5’0’’; I did grow into my blue racing bike and managed to keep it going until I left school.  

I didn’t buy another bike until 1980; a second hand one, nothing grand but it made do until I could afford something new.  It was a joyous occasion when I did and it went some way to repair the hurt of failing my eleven plus.  I bought a Raleigh Road  Ace 12, made from 531 lightweight steel guaranteed not to rust, with Shimano 600 gears.  The boy’s frame suited me best as I had not grown much over the last 20 years.

So I began racing and preparing for the London to Brighton ride and even did a triathlon.  Until I got pregnant a little late and unexpected in 1988.  The beauty (the bike not the baby)  was stored for a while until I returned to work in 1995 and began cycling daily a 20 mile round trip.  Meanwhile I got a job nearer home and had an accident; while the bike was not damaged I was badly hurt.So, I decided to get a bike a little more suited to my need; built for comfort and not for speed; I have a nice hybrid.  But I often think it was not such a wise choice.  Although I don’t cycle far these days; I do think it would be nice to have a different riding experience.  I would like a wardrobe of cycles or even be able to high a specific type on the odd occasion.

My old racer is still going strong my brother rides her 30 years on and not yet a bit of rust.  

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