In January, we have asked our friends, fans, followers and customers to send us photos, stories of their first cycling memories. Over a hundred submissions have arrived and we enjoyed all them – but because we’re not selfish, we wanted to share the best ones with you. So in the next couple of weeks and months, expect every now and again a great photo and a great story from a guest contributor.
The first bike I remember owning was my beloved Raleigh Budgie – purple with yellow livery, and chrome, lots of chrome.
Being a child born midway through the 1970’s I was a little too late for the much adored Chopper, and too small still for a Tomohawk, so the Budgie it was – my first proper bike (I progressed to a Raleigh Boxer, then onto a 2nd hand Burner – but that’s a story for another day..).
It was the bike I learned to ride on two wheels, first removing one bent, squeaky stabiliser and then the other. I remember to this day the exact moment and place when my dad let go of the chrome seat post that looped over the saddle, and hearing his voice fade as I gathered pace – I was flying solo! It was at the local park on the freshly mown grass, narrowly avoiding the now considered deadly, and long since gone roundabout.
I lost count of the laps of my mum and dad’s garden, round and round – jumping over what seemed like a huge hill at the time, but looking back was no more than a small mound.
Many an hour and several tubs of Brasso where spend in the garden polishing the chrome mudguards, the swooping handelbars and each and every spoke until it shine so bright it hurt your eyes. As I grew in confidence I began pulling wheelies across the park (one of the beauties of the small front wheel/larger rear)– aiming further and further to try and beat my pal’s record. Attaching my Dad’s playing cards to the bike frame with clothes pegs to transform my humble bicycle into the mean easy rider it was always intended to be.
My Budgie and I had many an adventure through woods, down paths and in and out of streams teeming with Minnows and Sticklebacks (do they still exist?), clocking up what seemed like hundreds of miles over the years together. I miss my Budgie – so much so that trawling the web to see if there might just be one out there that I can buy, and pass on to my son so that he can share the joy. They just don’t do chrome these days! When I see photos of the Raleigh Budgie online my heart aches, and I long to be 8years old with a tin of Brasso and a summer’s day.