Wednesday, 27 August 2008

My red-and-white bicycle

I got this bike when I was three. As a reward for no longer being in nappies at night. With 12" balloon tyres, rod-operated brake on the front wheel, finished in red and white, this Silver Knight bicycle lasted me until my tenth birthday, when it was replaced by a Hercules Jeep (24" wheels).

As my principal form of transport for nearly seven years (fitted with stabiliser wheels at first), the Silver Knight was not just a bicycle. It was a racing car, an aircraft, a flying boat, a police motorbike, and express engine. Inspired by endurance - the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Indianapolis 500, the first round-the-world flight - I would do endless laps around the block - Croft Gardens, Oaklands Road, Seward Road and Manton Avenue before returning home for a pit stop or a landing at a remote airfield then carrying on.

Over the years, the Silver Knight lost all unnecessary parts; mudguards (I'd not go cycling in the rain!), rear carrier rack, triangular metal 'fins' on the chainstays; the saddle and handlebars were raised as far as they would go, and an STP sticker applied to the frame.

When I got my new bike (long overdue!) the Silver Knight passed onto my brother.

Above: That's me, aged five, outside our house, going as fast as I could up Croft Gardens. Note total lack of cars parked on the road. The few cars that belonged to residents of Croft Gardens tended to be garaged whenever possible. The fact that my father (who took the picture) was home at around noon suggests the photo was taken on a weekend.

No comments: