November 23, 2012
957 Reads

957 Reads

Raleigh Scorpio

It doesn't seem to be a big deal nowadays, but back when I was a lad (no jokes please) getting a new bike for Christmas was a big deal.

I was about 14 and my previous bike was a combination of an old hand-me-down (I think it had been used in the War...) and some spare parts I'd found in an outside shed in the house we'd just moved in to.  I didn't mind having to meddle with things - in fact, I quite liked tinkering.  This old bike had been restored, painted and repaired with anything I could get my hands on.

The school was doing a Road Safety course so I took my old bike and signed up.  Alas, the experience wasn't going to be a good one as the Examiner inspected my bike and failed it on a number of road safety issues.  Tusk, tusk.  Who needed brakes, anyway...

So getting to the point of no return, the old bike had to be scrapped and I would have to spend quite a bit of time saving.  I did jobs, I helped out, I did whatever I could.  My folks knew I wanted a bike so when a mate of my Dad's said he could get a good deal on one because he worked at the famous Raleigh Factory, it was too good an offer to pass up.

I had to carry on with all of the chores, mind, and lots of pleading but, in the end, just before Christmas, I got my brand new, spanking Raleigh Scorpio bike.  Boy was I chuffed!  This bike was the dogs dangly bits!!

Alas, I don't have an actual picture of the bike but the one above is a very good example.  My version had the racing mudguards, though, rather than these practical ones.  With the racing mudguards, they were very small and about as useful as a chocolate teapot.  When you rode in the wet, the spray from the back wheel created a black stripe going down the middle of your back.  However, none of that mattered 'cos the bike was ace!

For the next couple of years, I pretty much lived on that bike.  Mornings, afternoons, weekends - everything was about getting on and riding about.  

Very happy times.

As an aside, it's a shame that the original Raleigh Factory in Nottingham is no longer there.  Sadly, the Factory closed down a few years ago but the name lives on.

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