Who remembers their first bike or their earliest memories of cycling. For some strange reason the idea for this post formed in my head at work today, must of been a slow day. My earliest recollection of my first bike takes us back to the seventies where we where emerging from black and white into colour. I think my first bike was a Raleigh but back then I think every bike was. It was some kind of cross breed unisex bike, you could remove the cross bar and turn it into a step through girly bike. I always remember that to brake you had to pedal backwards which was great fun because that meant skidding and wearing tyres out. Thinking back that probably made me the pioneer of fixie bikes but without Rapha.
I then moved onto a bike from Halfords it was their version of the chopper, big wheel at the back and little at the front. I always remember getting that bike, Dad took me into the city on the bus then I rode it home and he walked with me. The memory that always stays with me from that day was the smell of chocolate from the cocoa mill, though some days it didn't smell so sweet. I was Barry Sheene on that bike and would often practise getting the knee out on bends but sadly it didn't have a 500cc engine. That bike went to the scrappy after I snapped the forks doing jumps off home made ramps, those were the days.
The next bike that sticks in my memory was my first dropped bar bike, or a racer as we used to call them. It was a BSA from the catalogue and it had ten gears. I always remember going out riding and turning up at an Aunties houses miles away, she rung my mum, think she was more surprised I knew how to get there. That bike if my memory serves me right got nicked after my big brother borrowed it, he still owes me.
Once into my teenage years, girls and trying to look like Stuart Adamson took priority. After leaving school in the Thatcher years I became a economic migrant and ended up in Somerset with a summer job, that was twenty five years ago. I had the odd bike in those days mainly for getting to and from work and then mountain bikes arrived on the scene. I only really got back into cycling once my kids had grown a little but I only rode occasionally. Once my eldest got to the age of about seven all he wanted to do was come out with me. We'd do little rides around the hills near Minehead, I'd be pushing two bikes uphill but he loved riding down and still does. With a change of jobs and a new workmate with a love for mountain biking I started to go out more regularly and got the road bug last year. My friend was saying to me only the other day that he can't wait until his days off because he just wants to get out on his bike, I feel the same.
I can't get attached to bikes or cars or other material things, flesh and blood and family and friendship are far more important to me. Memories are for keeping and lots of my good memories seem to be cycling related, so that's what I need to do more of, cycling.