Yesterday I showed you a photograph of my bike which had been purchased new from Halfords in 1962 for my 13th birthday, sadly I don’t seem to have any photographs during its first thirteen years in my possession, but it must have been a bit tatty by 1975 as I decided to strip it down and repaint it, changing the colour from signal red to cowslip yellow, although I didn’t attempt to paint over the white plastic mudguards. As has been documented elsewhere in this blog, in 1975 I moved to London to work in a long-stay children’s home and the bike was an important part of this move as I was able to participate in cycling activities with many of the youngsters, one of our favourite routes was along the bridleways of Putney Heath and Wimbledon Common, and along the pathways too when the park ranger wasn’t about!
During my stay in London, bikes became an important part of my involvement with the youngsters, and indeed on the estate where the home was situated. The bikes we had acquired by various means were usually worn out by the time we had them and some skill was necessary in keeping them safe and useable, one lad even found one in a pond and between us we rebuilt it, finding used parts cheaply at a sympathetic local cycle shop. Word got around and some lads living locally would also bring their bikes along to me to tweak them, usually it was simple brake problems with which they suffered.
I have just two photographs from this period which include my bike in the frame, both taken in 1977 whilst on a picnic near Teddington Lock. One is on monochrome film and the other is taken on colour slide film and slightly out of focus, I seem to remember I had allowed one of the older lads to try my camera. So here it is, not very clear I know, but does show my bike in glorious colour along with two of the youngsters from the home; the lad in the middle is not one of my charges, he lived in the local estate and had come along for the ride. The carrier on the rear of my bike contained our picnic.