Tag Archives: Raleigh Chopper

Age of Innocence – 1967, Radio Leicester and Cycling Proficiency

The BBC made some important broadcasting changes in 1967. On television it began broadcasting in colour and the first two post monochrome programmes were some matches from Wimbledon and an episode from the American western series, the Virginian. By December BBC2 was broadcasting a full colour service, with approximately 80% of its output now being broadcast in colour.

At Wimbledon incidentally the American Billie Jean-King beat the English tennis player Ann Jones in the women’s final. Two years later however she got her revenge and beat Billie Jean in the 1969 final. On radio, the BBC had a shake-up in order to compete with pirate radio and introduced radio one, two, three and four. Tony Blackburn was the first radio one DJ on the breakfast programme and the first record that he played was ‘Flowers in the Rain’ by the Move.

Also in 1967, Radio Leicester, the first BBC local radio station was launched and this turned out to be a watershed in broadcasting for my dad. Being Leicester born and bred and with a fascination for anything about the city, especially its sport, Leicester City, Leicester Tigers, Leicestershire County Cricket Team and so on, this new radio station provided him with his greatest possible source of entertainment satisfaction. A little while after I think he underwent a surgical procedure and was permanently attached to his transistor radio and he spent about 50% of the rest of his life listening to anything that was on Radio Leicester.

In the 1960s before families had two cars most of us went to school on our bikes. This was a much better arrangement than today when every school morning and evening the roads are clogged up with cars taking lazy kids to school. Everyone had a bike. I had a simple sky blue and brown Raleigh model but what I really wanted was a racing bike with pencil thin tyres, derailleur gears and a saddle so sharp that one false move in any direction would cut your arse to ribbons. My bike didn’t have any gears at all, a very sensible saddle and it certainly wouldn’t have won any races, but it was reliable and solid and everyday I would cycle the two miles or so to school and back and, on account of the fact that I didn’t like school meals, go home for my dinner as well.

I didn’t have one of these either because this is my brother Richard on his Raleigh Chopper in about 1972.

With so many bikes on the road the Government was concerned about highway safety and in 1967 along with a load of other kids I took my Cycling Proficiency Test. Cyclist training began in 1947, although its roots stretched back to the 1930s when cycling organisations were pressing the Government to include cyclist instruction in the school curriculum and finally in 1958 the Government funded the introduction of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) National Cycling Proficiency Scheme and cycling instructors came to the school to prepare us for the test. RoSPA by the way was also responsible for the Tufty Club and the Green Cross Code and were completely detached from reality because we had all been out on the open road for years on our bikes and had already perfected some of the finer points of cycling, such as riding facing backwards or with no hands, for example.

Most of the ‘training’ took place in the safety of the school playground where we had to demonstrate our biking skills by cycling between bollards, learning the Highway Code and how to maintain our machines in good mechanical order. Once we had done all of this to the satisfaction of the instructor there was a final road test under the watchful eye of the examiner. As far as I can remember, I don’t think anybody ever failed the Cycling Proficiency Test and at the end there was a certificate and an aluminium badge to attach to the handlebars so that everyone knew just how safe we were.

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Scrap Book Project – Bicycles

Frank Bowden was a businessman who made a fortune in the stock market by the age of twenty-four but he became seriously ill at one stage and his doctor gave him only six months to live.

On his doctor’s advice he took up cycling  and bought a bicycle from a small shop on Raleigh Street, Nottingham.  He was so impressed with his recovering health and the bicycle that he bought the company that was making three bicycles a week.  Production rose, and three years later Bowden needed a bigger workshop, which he found in a four-storey building in Russell Street. He changed the company’s name to Raleigh Cycles to commemorate the original address.  By 1896 it was the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world and occupied seven and a half acres in Faraday Road, Nottingham.

He died on 25th April 1921.

 

Triang Bicycle

 

Tricycle

All boys wanted a bicycle of course and after I had learned to ride a two wheeler I was bought my first Raleigh bike.  This bike got me into trouble once when I was about ten and persuaded some friends to tackle a bike ride one afternoon to Leicester to see my grandparents without checking with anyone first.  I have to confess that this was both ambitious and thoughtless especially on a Raleigh Junior bike with 18” wheels and no lights and not in any way suitable for a fifty mile round trip.

Getting there was reasonably straightforward but the return journey was a bit more difficult on account of it being dark and the three of us being completely knackered.  There was a search party that night for sure and I can remember being astonished about how much fuss was made over such a trivial incident when dad intercepted me at Abbots Farm and sent me home immediately for a good telling off from Mum which turned out instead to be an emotional and tearful reunion and I can remember being thoroughly confused by that.

Later, when I was a teenager I had a simple sky blue and brown Raleigh model with a white imitation leather saddle bag, a rear view mirror (which was a pointless waste of pocket money) and an aluminium cycling proficiency badge on the handlebars but what I really wanted was a racing bike with pencil thin tyres, derailleur gears and a saddle so sharp that one false move in any direction would cut my backside to ribbons.

My bike didn’t have any gears at all, a very sensible saddle and it certainly wouldn’t have won any races, but it was reliable and solid and every day I would cycle the two miles or so to school and back and, on account of the fact that I didn’t like school meals, go home for my dinner as well.

There were some speciality bikes about when I was a boy, my friend Rod Bull had a Moulton, a small-wheeled, unisex, dual-suspension bicycle and I can still remember my feelings of envy when he smugly rode it to my house to show it off.  No one wanted the traditional diamond framed bicycle any more and all sorts of new designs hit the market.  I never had anything modern or unusual, my last bike (before my modern mountain bike) was a really black old sit up and beg model but that was stolen from outside the Jolly Abbott pub one night while I was inside, behind the bar, working.

Although I never had a modern design bike my brother Richard had a Raleigh Chopper which was the must have bike of its era and quickly became a 1970s cultural icon which, let’s face it, looks ridiculous now!

Raleigh Bikes

Frank Bowden was a businessman who made a fortune in the stock market by the age of twenty-four but he became seriously ill at one stage and his doctor gave him only six months to live.

On his doctor’s advice he took up cycling  and bought a bicycle from a small shop on Raleigh Street, Nottingham.  He was so impressed with his recovering health and the bicycle that he bought the company that was making three bicycles a week.  Production rose, and three years later Bowden needed a bigger workshop, which he found in a four-storey building in Russell Street. He changed the company’s name to Raleigh Cycles to commemorate the original address.  By 1896 it was the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world and occupied seven and a half acres in Faraday Road, Nottingham.

He died on 25th April 1921.

All boys wanted a bicycle of course and after I had learned to ride a two wheeler I was bought my first Raleigh bike.  This bike got me into trouble once when I was about ten and persuaded some friends to tackle a bike ride one afternoon to Leicester to see my grandparents without checking with anyone first.  I have to confess that this was both ambitious and thoughtless especially on a Raleigh Junior bike with 18” wheels and no lights and not in any way suitable for a fifty mile round trip.

Getting there was reasonably straightforward but the return journey was a bit more difficult on account of it being dark and the three of us being completely knackered.  There was a search party that night for sure and I can remember being astonished about how much fuss was made over such a trivial incident when dad intercepted me at Abbots Farm and sent me home immediately for a good telling off from Mum which turned out instead to be an emotional and tearful reunion and I can remember being thoroughly confused by that.

Later, when I was a teenager I had a simple sky blue and brown Raleigh model with a white imitation leather saddle bag, a rear view mirror (which was a pointless waste of pocket money) and an aluminium cycling proficiency badge on the handlebars but what I really wanted was a racing bike with pencil thin tyres, derailleur gears and a saddle so sharp that one false move in any direction would cut my backside to ribbons.  My bike didn’t have any gears at all, a very sensible saddle and it certainly wouldn’t have won any races, but it was reliable and solid and every day I would cycle the two miles or so to school and back and, on account of the fact that I didn’t like school meals, go home for my dinner as well.

There were some speciality bikes about when I was a boy, my friend Rod Bull had a Moulton, a small-wheeled, unisex, dual-suspension bicycle and I can still remember my feelings of envy when he smugly rode it to my house to show it off.  No one wanted the traditional diamond framed bicycle anymore and all sorts of new designs hit the market.  I never had anything modern or unusual, my last bike (before my modern mountain bike) was a really black old sit up and beg model but that was stolen from outside the Jolly Abbott pub one night while I was inside, behind the bar, working.

Although I never had a modern design bike my brother Richard had a Raleigh Chopper which was the must have bike of its era and quickly became a 1970s cultural icon which, let’s face it, looks ridiculous now!

A Life in a Year – 25th April, Raleigh Bikes

Frank Bowden was a businessman who made a fortune in the stock market by the age of 24 but he became seriously ill and his doctor gave him six months to live. He took up cycling on his doctor’s advice and bought a bicycle from a small shop on Raleigh Street, Nottingham. He was so impressed with his recovering health and the bicycle that he bought the company that was making three bicycles a week.  Production rose, and three years later Bowden needed a bigger workshop, which he found in a four-storey building in Russell Street. He changed the company’s name to Raleigh Cycles to commemorate the original address.  By 1896 it was the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world and occupied seven and a half acres in Faraday Road, Nottingham.  He died on 25th April 1921.

All boys wanted a bicycle of course and after I had learned to ride a two wheeler I was bought my first Raleigh bike.  This bike got me into trouble once when I was about ten and persuaded some friends to tackle a bike ride one afternoon to Leicester to see my grandparents without checking with anyone first.  I have to confess that this was both ambitious and thoughtless especially on a Raleigh Junior bike with 18” wheels and no lights and not in any way suitable for a fifty mile round trip. 

Getting there was reasonably straightforward but the return journey was a bit more difficult on account of it being dark and us being completely knackered.  There was a search party that night for sure and I can remember being astonished about how much fuss was made over such a trivial incident when dad intercepted me at Abbots Farm and sent me home immediately for a good telling off from Mum which turned out instead to be an emotional and tearful reunion and I can remember being thoroughly confused by that.

Later, when I was a teenager I had a simple sky blue and brown Raleigh model with a saddle bag, a rear view mirror (which was a pointless waste of pocket money) and an aluminium cycling proficiency badge on the handlebars but what I really wanted was a racing bike with pencil thin tyres, derailleur gears and a saddle so sharp that one false move in any direction would cut your arse to ribbons.  My bike didn’t have any gears at all, a very sensible saddle and it certainly wouldn’t have won any races, but it was reliable and solid and every day I would cycle the two miles or so to school and back and, on account of the fact that I didn’t like school meals, go home for my dinner as well.

There were some speciality bikes about when I was a boy my friend Rod Bull had a Moulton, a small-wheeled, unisex, dual-suspension Moulton bicycle.  No one wanted the traditional diamond framed bicycle anymore and all sorts of new designs hit the market.  I never had anything modern or unusual, my last bike (before my modern mountain bike) was a really black old sit up and beg model but that was stolen from outside the Jolly Abbott pub one night while I was inside, behind the bar, working.

Although I never had a modern design bike my brother Richard had a Raleigh Chopper which was the must have bike of its era and quickly became a 1970s cultural icon.

1967 – Radio Leicester and Cycling Proficiency

The BBC made some important broadcasting changes in 1967.  On television it began broadcasting in colour and the first two post monochrome programmes were some matches from Wimbledon and an episode from the American western series, the Virginian.  By December BBC2 was broadcasting a full colour service, with approximately 80% of its output now being broadcast in colour.

At Wimbledon incidentally the American Billie Jean-King beat the English tennis player Ann Jones in the women’s final.  Two years later however she got her revenge and beat Billie Jean in the 1969 final.  On radio, the BBC had a shake-up in order to compete with pirate radio and introduced radio one, two, three and four.  Tony Blackburn was the first radio one DJ on the breakfast programme and the first record that he played was ‘Flowers in the Rain’ by the Move.

Also in 1967, Radio Leicester, the first BBC local radio station was launched and this turned out to be a watershed in broadcasting for my dad.  Being Leicester born and bred and with a fascination for anything about the city, especially its sport, Leicester City, Leicester Tigers, Leicestershire County Cricket Team and so on, this new radio station provided him with his greatest possible source of entertainment satisfaction.  A little while after I think he underwent a surgical procedure and was permanently attached to his transistor radio and he spent about 50% of the rest of his life listening to anything that was on Radio Leicester.

In the 1960s before families had two cars most of us went to school on our bikes.  This was a much better arrangement than today when every school morning and evening the roads are clogged up with cars taking lazy kids to school.  Everyone had a bike.  I had a simple sky blue and brown Raleigh model but what I really wanted was a racing bike with pencil thin tyres, derailleur gears and a saddle so sharp that one false move in any direction would cut your arse to ribbons.  My bike didn’t have any gears at all, a very sensible saddle and it certainly wouldn’t have won any races, but it was reliable and solid and everyday I would cycle the two miles or so to school and back and, on account of the fact that I didn’t like school meals, go home for my dinner as well.

I didn’t have one of these either because this is my brother Richard on his Raleigh Chopper in about 1972.

With so many bikes on the road the Government was concerned about highway safety and in 1967 along with a load of other kids I took my Cycling Proficiency Test.  Cyclist training began in 1947, although its roots stretched back to the 1930s when cycling organisations were pressing the Government to include cyclist instruction in the school curriculum and finally in 1958 the Government funded the introduction of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) National Cycling Proficiency Scheme and cycling instructors came to the school to prepare us for the test.  RoSPA by the way was also responsible for the Tufty Club and the Green Cross Code and were completely detached from reality because we had all been out on the open road for years on our bikes and had already perfected some of the finer points of cycling, such as riding facing backwards or with no hands, for example.

Most of the ‘training’ took place in the safety of the school playground where we had to demonstrate our biking skills by cycling between bollards, learning the Highway Code and how to maintain our machines in good mechanical order.  Once we had done all of this to the satisfaction of the instructor there was a final road test under the watchful eye of the examiner.  As far as I can remember, I don’t think anybody ever failed the Cycling Proficiency Test and at the end there was a certificate and an aluminium badge to attach to the handlebars so that everyone knew just how safe we were.