Saturday, 2 January 2016

Dynamo boy...



When Scrobs was a real squit about sixty years ago, he was given his first bike. It was a Hercules Jeep, and had been though several owners, but to a budding Scrobs it was a passport to travel anywhere within a ten mile radius of the Senior Scrobs Turrets!

It had those funny bar brakes, not cables, and a saddle which was so highly sprung that even then, I found I knew a lot about girls and children an' all that...

This dear old bike was eventually sold for £2.10s, and some time after, my parents surprised me with a brand new bike for my birthday, which was a Triumph Palm Beach - very like this one,


...and it had three gears too! I used to dream about going up hills on a whim, and those magical words 'Sturmey Archer' were imprinted on my brain with a fire brand! I'd dream of several hills being ridden at speed, and believe it or not, I can still recall a dream about one small stretch of hill, which I could show you to this day!

That Christmas, I was also mightily happy to receive a real dynamo light kit for this bike. It was the state of the art, and whirred for several years, until a 50cc moped became a requirement on a certain birthday. I have a dynamo light on my bike these days, and it isn't burnished aluminium, but it still works - until I stop, which is a bit of an insight into life really...

6 comments:

rvi said...

Goodness me, Scrobs, you sure like to stir up old memories, don't you???

My first bike (other than the little two-wheeler trainer with the support wheels at the back which I got for my 6th birthday!) was a green Raleigh with drop handlebars and a 5 speed Derailleur(sp?)unit thingy which my dad bought for me in 1956. I used it for many years to make the daily 7 mile trip to school in all weathers. Local school was out as I had somehow managed to scrape through my 11+, so I got posted to some distant establishment instead and needed a set of my own wheels in order to avoid using the dreadful local buses - which entailed 3 changes each way twixt home and school. The hardest bit of that was the climb up the long drag from Morden to St Helier, a real pain with an almost constant headwind, but it was downhill all the way from there. I by-passed the must-have moped stage as my mater bluntly refused my "hint" - "No way are you having one of those (expletive deleted)death traps. Your mate up the road killed himself three weeks after he got his - so NONONO". Thus I had to make do with pedal power until I got my first car at the age of 17, having passed my driving test at the first go. Since then, it has been cars all the way - and it may surprise you to learn that I have never driven a motorcycle in my life (although I do have a pretty good idea of how it is done). Is there something I have been missing?

PS: My bike lamp was one of those square battery lamps which clipped on to a slot on the frame. Dynamos made whirring noises - and also added considerably to the drag factor when in use, so I opted for the detachable lamp - with which I could also read my books under the sheets at night....

PPS: I have just seen an article on the front news page of my Yahoo homepage showing a man riding very close behind a bus. No doubt some nannying interfering busy body will be moaning that it is dangerous (I have not yet read the article), but frankly us kids all knew the joy of resistance free cycling behind the local double deckers. All the way home sans any effort! There seems to be no fun for the kids these days without somebody finger-wagging!



A K Haart said...

I used a dynamo but it damaged the tyre if I did much night riding. I remember one night time incident where I was cycling back home on the pavement and almost ran over an old chap's dog. He bawled me out for riding on the pavement and not having a light until I pointed out the dynamo which only worked while moving. He seemed puzzled by such advanced technology.

Smog was a problem because I had to cycle so slowly that the light barely came on. Not that it was much use in smog.

Thud said...

We just need a nice downhill slope to get us going and then peddle like hell nowadays scrobs!

Michael said...

Reevers, I used to know that road, and yes, it was/is a bummer...

The moped stage started when I was sixteen, and the first one was an old Mobylette,which cost £18.00 from the cycle shop in Battle, (still there). I then took on my sister's Lambretta, (still owe her for it), and went everywhere on it, including Belgium with a chum...

Rebuilt it after a crash, and eventually flogged it for £5 long after I'd passed my car test! I understand nowadays, that a motorbike test can cost thousands, and take ages. My test was a circular route in Hastings (where I got lost), a couple of questions and a full licence in minutes!

Couldn't you hang on to the rail on a Routemaster bus, and get towed along?

Michael said...

The stop factor was always a problem, Mr H. It still is, and as Mrs Scroblene noticed me doing a serious wobble when I did a recent trip, I may well ditch the thing, although I don't cycle at night any more...

An electric bike seems a possibility, or maybe a 50cc scooter, so Mrs Scroblene can ride it. It just doesn't seem right driving a car half a mile to the allotment, but after two hours graft, the hill back is not very pleasing...

Michael said...

I remember a conversation with a chum many years ago, Thud.

We were on a bike ride, and I said that it would be nice if all the roads were just flat, and there were only tiny hills. (I was only about ten).

He replied with such refreshing honesty, saying 'I wish they were all downhill'!

Absolutely!