Cycling - the early years
Being born as I was, in the 'Flatlands of the frozen North' in Hull, Yorkshire, cycling was part of everyday life for most of us in the 50's and 60's. Very few folk had cars, and even if they did they still often cycled to work. Most bikes were of the utilitarian style, still favoured in what is probably the cycling capital of Europe, the Netherlands. Very heavy, drab coloured, fully chain and mudguarded, with dynamo lighting - and a bell!! Rarely, if ever, to be seen on the pavement (Clout round the lug by local Bobby and all that). The widespread ownership of the motorcar has changed all of that of course, but it must have left great impression on me and my contemporaries. I used my Cousin Williams little 3 wheeler whenever I visited him or my Maternal Grandmother, who lived in the same street. I'm not sure if I ever got the hang of pedalling that weird front wheel arrangement, but I could certainly get it to move.
It's only recently that I have realised the coincidence of the trike, following my Land's End to John O'Groats trip in 2004. My Mum and Dad both had bikes, Dad's had a little seat atop the crossbar and a small footbar on the downtube for me to put my feet on. Mum's bike had a seat in a carrier which went behind her.
My Sister, Janet who is 3 years older than me, was the first of us two to get a bike of her very own, but I soon followed with a secondhand one which came from a school-friend of my Sister. I was about five at the time and Janet came home from school one day and told Dad of a bike for sale from one of her classmates - David Durham, who has been a great friend of mine almost ever since. His Dad had 'done it up a bit' and David came round to tea at our house on it. I remember it so well after nearly 50 years - it was freshly painted in the best bright red that Dulux could supply, and had brand new white metal mudguards. One very distinctive feature was it having two small diameter slightly curved crossbars running from the headstock to the seat tube.
The next bike as I grew older was the hand-me-down Dawes 'Double Blue' which had been my Sisters first one. Can't really remember what happened to that one, but it must eventually have made way for the next 'project bike', which was one given to me by my Uncle George.
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