Do you remember your first bike? Was it a Christmas present, a birthday dream or something bought just because it was the right time? It surely is something most of us remember, even if we don’t remember all the details. There will be something that stands out, colour, a bell, tassles, a basket or maybe the logo.
Over the years there have been some classic designs, the must have’s, the ingenious, the not so ingenious. The simple bicycle has gone through so many make-over’s and changes that it has covered the needs of most of us.
Back in the 80’s, when I was a child, some children still had the classic Chopper from the 70’s, but new and more exciting designs were out there. The 80’s were a time of corny TV shows that we all loved, like Night Rider and The A-Team. And with that, Raleigh introduced The Vektar. Launched in 1985, it was a dream bike. It came with innovative designs, and even had a microchip (totally space age). It was The World’s first computer bike. At the touch of a button, you could see how fast you were going, how long you’d been travelling and how many miles you’d clocked up. All this showed on a display that meant you had your head down, and meant frequent bumping in to things, or swerving. Even so, it didn’t deter the kids of the day. It was all part of the skill.
The Mark 1 Vektar had an AM radio fitted, later models came with MW too, so you could enjoy the pleasures of tinny radio while out and about and impress your mates even more, while trying not to bump in to anything and look like a fool, while trying to swerve and control at the same time.
The best and the thing you really wanted this bike for, was its revolutionary sound generator, with 8 preset sounds. You set the sound you wanted, and controlled the sound by the press of a button next to the brakes on the handle bars. So much better than a boring bell.
This was The Must Have of The 80’s. Unfortunately I didn’t have one. I must have really missed out. However, I do recall my first “proper” bike. And I got it about 1980, when I was 8.
Up until that point I had a rather unconventional bike. My sister, a little older than me, had a little red bike that she mastered rather well. Whereas I had a large tricycle, that didn’t have pedals. I simply used the power of my feet and got about just fine.
But our parents had decided it was time for new bikes, I don’t think they were for Christmas or birthday’s, we got them one summer. They were in our opinion amazing. One feature of them was that they folded. And we seemed to be rather chuffed that they came with a stand too. Mine was red. I loved it as soon as I saw it. But when I tried to get on it (having been used to the trike up until now), I was so unsteady. It wasn’t the kind of bike I could start off with stabilizers, so my Father took the bike inside the house and balanced it with piles of books. He then got me to get on it and practice balancing. Once I thought I had the hang of it, I took it back out and with so much confidence took off. All was fine, until I applied the brakes and came head first over the handle bars. As you do.
It was all part of the fun. It wasn’t long before me and the bike were as one, and I was off on all kinds of adventures. I had the freedom. I loved it. I mastered the all important “look no hands” maneuver, followed by the standing up stunt. I became a bike animal! That bike lasted years. The next bike I got wasn’t until I was 18, my fabulous pink Raleigh racer. The best bike ever!
Look at those white walled tyres! The best.
Having a bike is such a massive part of growing up. Great outdoor fun. They come with tales of woe of course, we always have the time (s) we come off them, I still have the scars. But isn’t that just part of the experience? That said, you should always wear a helmet. You’re so very vulnerable on a bicycle.
When I was at Uni, I had my pink racer to negotiate the city roads, and it took me back and forth for my summer job. Even after a long shift of heavy work, it was always so good to cycle home, whatever the weather.
Once I had children of my own, I tried to encourage them to get on a bike. It is never easy the first time, but if you just have the confidence to feel that fear anyway and just go with it, you’re soon away.
The look on my son’s face says it all on the above photo. Not sure what to think I’m sure. He is now an avid rider, and doesn’t need stabilizers anymore (and at the age of 21, that is just as well really.)
My youngest son is just mastering the fine art. He hasn’t quite got the hang of it yet. The whole process of needing to push your legs forward to go, AND steer, AND look where you’re going. But he’s very proud of his Avenger’s bike.
Doesn’t matter what age you are, if you can ride a bike, get out there and do it. It is a wonderful experience, great exercise, a way of getting outdoors, of travelling, a family day out, a date, a means of freedom. Don’t forget your helmet!
A bike has got to be one of the best Christmas presents any one can get.
Halfords have a great selection of bicycles, for all your needs. On road, off road, teeny ones, to one’s that possibly need a mount to get on. They also stock helmets for all ages, and all your biking needs. All can be found on their website.
I was paid to write this post on behalf of Halfords; with my own wording and my own opinions.