Top Picture: The John Bull Puncture Outfit
Second Picture: Peter Westcott on his new bike
The Open Road on Two Wheels
Most of us as kids had a bike and several years back I talked about the different bikes and makes of bikes we all had including that ghastly thing the Pink Witch, but today I would like to look at the other side of Cycling.
If we had a bike we all knew the joy of the freedom it gave us as we travelled around the area and out into the countryside. But we also knew the despair of a cycle breakdown. How many of you can remember the trouble caused by a puncture especially if you were miles from home. The joys of sitting by the roadside prising the tyre off with a set of metal tyre levers, no plastic ones in those days. Then hauling the inner tube out and attempting to find the hole without a bowl of water handy. Having found the split then came the repair, providing that you have remembered to put your John Bull or Romac Puncture Repair Outfit in your saddlebag.
First came the rubbing of the surface with sandpaper to rough it up, applying the rubber solution and leaving it until it was almost dry and then applying the patch. Then came the dusting with talc or French Chalk and the repair was done, but this was not the end of it. Oh no! Then it was feeling round the tyre casing to find the thing that made the puncture in the first place and then removing it. Having done all that it was time to put the inner tube back into the casing and replace the tyre without pinching the tube, this could be tricky, many is the time I have put the tyre back on and have gone to inflate it only to find that by putting it all back together I had pinched the tube and caused another puncture. So it was a case of start again!!!!
For those of us who lived in the Drayton area Wynns the cycle shop was the place where we would go to buy our bikes, our spares and replacement pieces and also model cars and other toys. If you lived in Cosham the shop that was used was Seals on the corner of High Street and Magdalen Road opposite Mary Ann Christophrs shoe shop.
These cycle accessory shops were invaluable for buying the odd part that was needed to undertake a repair. I remember buying spring links to join the chain together again after it had spilt or needed to be shortened for some reason. When the brake cable snapped at the handlebar end the piece of equipment required was a solder less nipple which clamped the cable back into place within the brake lever and if you have every tried to replace a ball race or the ball bearings in a hub you will remember what a terrible job that was!
To us a three or four speed hub, a fixed wheel or derailuer gears were things to be fiddled with and adjusted, we were never interested in the Pifco electric cycle horn or siren, give us the good old bell and bulb horn!!
At that time lots of us had two types of bikes the usual standard models and the non standard old converted bikes we used for tracking (today this is known as BMX I think). These bikes were our own inventions with bits taken off and bits added on, different gear ratios, knobbly and smooth tyres, anything to make the bike go faster. Mine was an old Raleigh which I stripped down, painted grey added a low geared fixed wheel and racing saddle (all very uncomfortable). I even remember Steve Long building a bike with front swinging arm suspension and rear sprung suspension. This must have been in about 1960-61 maybe Steve can correct me on the date.
We were even law biding those days making sure that the bikes had a bell and reflectors, removable lights or dynamo lights for night cycling and we were conscious of the law and here we could cycle. I look around today and see people riding along the pavement, up pedestrian precincts, sometime more than one on a bike and nothing is said. I have even seen them cycle past a policeman on the pavement. I know that when we were you we did not dare to cycle like that we knew w would be in trouble with the law if we did. Still I must be getting old and grumpy and I don’t even own a bike these days let alone a pair of cycle clips!!!!
Finally, do you remember those bright yellow cycle capes and leggings? I remember someone riding home on a boiling hot day with his cape on because his trouser zip had split, do you remember that Willie?
Stay in touch,
News and Views:
Tom Jones is currently filming his role as an aging British Teddy Boy in a television drama there. "King Of The Teds" is scheduled to air in the Spring.
On this day 14th March 1960-1965
On 14/03/1960 the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was The Explosive Freddy Cannon - Freddy Cannon. The top rated TV show was The Larkins (ATV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Plans for Thames Barrier.
On 14/03/1961 the number one single was Walk Right Back / Ebony Eyes - Everly Brothers and the top rated TV show was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £not very interesting and 13.25 were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was The Dickie Henderson Show (AR).
On 14/03/1962 the number one single was Rock-a-Hula Baby/Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 14/03/1963 the number one single was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 14/03/1964 the number one single was Anyone Who Had a Heart -Cilla Black and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 14/03/1965 the number one single was It's Not Unusual - Tom Jones and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.