Friday, 22 November 2013

More about me (not as interesting as bikes!)

This is us, from a few years ago.
I'm the one of the right :-)

After chatting to another blogger, and seeing what other folks post on their blogs, I have decided to share a bit more about myself with you.
It is not that I am particularly shy, or reclusive (I write a blog after all!), it is just that I don't think I am as interesting as the bikes I write about :-)

So on to the folks behind the words.

I was born in the '60s, in typical lower middle-class home.
I have been told that I watched the Moon Landings on TV, live (-ish) - I believe there was a time delay on the signal, but I watched on first transmission anyway :-) Don't remember it, but I have seen it so many times since, it would be hard to separate the original memory from the later viewing anyway :-)
My first bike was actually a trike, made by Tri-ang.
As was the pattern for stuff like that back then, it was my elder sister's trike, and it was handed down to me when she "moved up", and then onto my younger sister in turn.

We had bikes in the family throughout my childhood, with my father having owned the same bike (a rather high-end Raleigh Lenton Clubman) since 1950!

 When I was five, my folks moved to a non-descript town in the South of England, and that was where I spent the next nineteen years.

A few more hand-me-downs later, and my elder sister had a "Raleigh Twenty"-type bike with a 3-speed hub gear.
I borrowed that bike a few times, and loved the simplicity of the gears.

A bit later, I was bought a second-hand Falcon roadster, and with that I started cycling to school.
I was about thirteen at the time, and suddenly I felt I had a new sense of mobility, and, with it, a new sense of independence.
A while later the standard chainwheel was exchanged for a double chainwheel - TEN SPEEDS, and I was the King of the World! Never mind that I only really used two of them, I HAD TEN SPEEDS!

I got a slection of mediocres exam results at the age of 16 and again at the age of 18.
Then I started work.
Of course I cycled :-)
I had a variety of jobs, and usually cycled 10 or 12 miles a day for work, on main roads - not many cyccle routes back in the '80s!

After about a year, I bought a small motorcycle, and my cycling took a back seat for a while.

Much later, in the early '90s, I found myself living on the outskirts of London.
I had come to London because the streets were paved with gold, and their didn't seem to be many chances for a chap like myself to make a life for themself in a nondescript Southern English town.
They say that if you can't make it in London, you can't make it anywhere.

For, me, a bit of that gold came my way, and I found I had a job, which given the VERY high unemployment rates in England at the time was a success in itself!

I started cycling again.
I had a friend that lived in Hackney, East London, whilst I lived a good bit to the north of that.
I found that a canal ran from near where I lived to near where he lived - the
River Lee Navigation. (Lee and Lea seem to be used interchangeably for the spelling!).
It was 8 miles by the side of the canal, or 10 miles by road.
Both routes took about the same time.
So I ususally cycled by the canal.
I had one near-miss, when my foot clipped a bush, and I almost went into the canal, but, as they say, "almost" doesn't count.

Later I got a job as a postman (mailman), and, as part of the job, I had to ride a bike.
So I guess that made a "cycling professional", because actually I got paid for riding a bike!
The bikes were rather dated single-speed, rod-brake, models, but they were as tough as old boots.
Going uphill at first was a major stuggle, and I had to regularly get off and push, but after a few months, one's muscles build up, and it became easy to cycle uphill with just the one speed.
Mind you, my knees were twenty years younger then!

A bit later, I changed to a smaller "city car" and got a smaller bike to fit it!
Rode it on "high days and holidays", choosing the wuiter roads in London to ride on!
That was about twenty years ago.
I mainly drove my small car to work, though.
After riding that single-speed bike at work for more than five years, I moved to another part of the company (that paid a LOT more!), and my little bike became my "back-up".
I used it a few times when my car was in for a service, and I took the train, with my little Cinzia folder being used for the trip bits at either end of the train journey.

In 2000, I moved to Aylesbury, the town where we still live, and rented a modest house.
In 2001, I got married, to the lady in the picture above.
Best thing I ever did.
Best wife in the world.
I mean it.

2002 brought us the joy of a daughter.
Didn't like the nappies much, but apart from that it was great!
Chez nous - a modern (a.k.a. "small") two- bedroom, semi.
2005 saw us getting a LARGE mortgage to get our "own place" - the house in the pictures above.
And we still live there!
Our modest, yet enjoyable, rear garden.

2011, and after a company re-organisation, I'm a postman again :-)
So I've ended up working only a mile from where I live.
I must admit that it was not all my doing - a few folks "pulled a few strings" on my behalf.

It is great.
A "fresh air, exercise, and meeting people" job - what's not to like.

Me, in November 2013
And I'm cycling again.
I cycle every day to work - rain or shine, snow or sun.
I just like it.

Anna, my wife, cycles too, doing most of the family shopping on her bike.
She asked for a bike to get around, so we bought one, and I kitted it out for her.
She has a decent front basket (from Basil - I must write a piece about that sometime!), and great Bike Bins panniers.

So, there we are.
A cycling family.
I was brought up in a cycling family, and now we have our own cycling family :-)
It is easier these days, because Aylesbury has some cycle infrastructure.
And it is getting easier all the time.

The future is bright.
The future is bike!

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