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.