In the last couple of weeks, we’ve been overwhelmed by the large number of stories about your first bikes and first rides. The photos and the stories just kept coming and we soon realized that it will be nearly impossible to choose one winner as we all had our favourite stories/pictures. However, there can only be one winner but we will also announce honorable mentions so you get to see all the great photos and the story that belongs to them. It’s been tough, but without further ado, the winner of the Retro Month Competition is: Daniel Hodgson! Congratulations, we’ll contact him (and the winners of the runner-up prizes too) shortly, but here is the winning entry:
How many folks can say they got a Raleigh Chopper for their 21st birthday…and how many of them say it was the best birthday surprise they ever had? Well I can! When were we growing up my big brother and I were always jealous of our neighbour’s purple Chopper but dad would never buy us one. Lucky for me my brother managed to acquire two before they became sought after and highly collectable. I’ll never forget coming downstairs on my birthday morning to discover the bike of my dreams, the unmistakable shape of the “ape-hanger” handlebars half hidden under a sheet.
I still treasure it to this day but now it only comes out on special occasions. During the summer of ’95 however it covered some mileage. My brother and I took them down to Cornwall for our summer holidays and managed to re-live a lost childhood denied us by our misguided father. This picture shows me (left) and my brother (right) stood next to BMX pro Jamie, after his stunt display on the half-pipe…riding my Chopper. (Check out those pyjama trousers we’re both wearing!)
We had such a laugh during the summer of ’95 riding the streets of Newquay dressed as C.H.I.P.s highway patrol, pretending to be the style police and arresting anyone we “fancied!” I remember riding through Newquay town centre; police siren blazing (you remember the yellow battery operated ones with three different siren sounds) and cars pulling over thinking the police were coming! Once a bloke even came running over to me and reported his surfboard stolen, I duly took the details from him and made a note of them in my little black book (unfortunately the board was never recovered).
When folks saw the bikes they came over and had a chat about “when they used to have one as a kid!” The bikes were real icebreakers and we met allsorts of holidaymakers because of them, not least, The Chopper Girls. These two like-minded, young-at-heart 20somethings, shared a love of retro-bikes. They simply left a note on the window of my campervan addressed to The Chopper Boys (a name that has since stuck) after noticing us riding through town. I still keep in touch with them now via face-book!
We even took some pictures of famous people sat on our Choppers, (see my facebook pics) including TV presenter Diane Jordan (who we snapped after she’d filmed Songs of Praise from Newquay headland), I can see the tabloid headline now!
Writing this has reminded me so much of all the fun we had that I’m gonna get polishing my Chopper ready for when the sun comes out again…roll on summer!
The Biggest Air
The Worst Crash
This was my first ever bike and was eco friendly before such a thing became trendy. The bike was used to transport toys from one end of the living room to the other. Sometimes I was know to venture into the kitchen for snacks.
The photo shows me giving a important talk on bike road safety to my doll who was called Miffy.
The family story goes like this, my Mum who was in the livingroom heard a clatter and turned around to see me coming down the stairs on the little wooden bike. She was horrified that I was coming down stairs at such a speed. Horror was followed by her being impressed I stayed upright on the seat, unsathed and perfectly calm about the whole experience. Sadly, once I had reached the bottom of the stairs the wheels on the bike all fell off.
I am unsure if the bike was repaired and what happened to it. However, just watching my Mum’s proud expression as she tells the story always makes me smile.
I currently don’t own a bike. I aspire to own a new bike just so I can write home of all my new adventures, which will not involve stairs, but will be just as exciting as my early childhood stunt.
The Best Colour-Coordinated Photo
The Coolest Full Suspension Bike
The Cutest Bike
The Most Hedonistic Story
Few years back a friend of my father from UK came to my city for two weeks to try a little bit of sea, hot sun and delicious watermelons. For his little trips around the city he bought a second hand magnificent bike for an Italian student. He enjoyed so much his time that he stayed to the city for 5 months(!). He woke up, took his bike and on the way to the beach he bought a huge watermelon carrying it all the way to the sea to eat it. Unfortunately at the end he run out of money and he had to go back. The last day, really depressed, he left his magnificent old green bike with a note in my room while I was in the University and took the bus to the airport. The note was saying: “I’m leaving my loyal Italian friend to you. Please, don’t let him die miserably in your garage”. From that day the mightly Legnano and I have visited almost every beach in Peloponnese.
The Best Acrobatic Trick
The Best Race Photo
The Most Excited Face
The Best BMX Trick
The Best Helmet Imitation
We will announce publish the full list of winners on Friday and we will start to contact all everybody about the delivery of the prizes. Thank you very much, again, for participating and sharing all these great moments with us.
And if you aren’t fed up by retro, take a glimpse into into our favourite online videos and retro bike sites!
The first time mountain biking was featured at the Olympics in 1996. Bart Brentjens and Thomas Frischknecht in their primes.
The iconic Mammoth Downhill race with aero wheels, rigid frames, crazy speeds and big crashes.
Cyclo-cross, “back in the days”
Retrobikes.co.uk – stunning collection and active community of all things cycling retro
Old World Mountain Bike Championships – the venue for 2011 hasn’t been