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Your first time...

ChrisLSChrisLS Posts: 2,749
edited January 2009 in Commuting chat
...on a bike...do you remember it, and what made it so special that you took to riding?

My first time as an adult was when I started commuting 6 miles there, 6 miles home 24 years ago...my wife followed me in the car on a dry run on a Sunday as we couldn't believe I could ride a bike that far! I have ridden thousands of miles since and even dabbled in racing...but the feeling of freedom that riding a bike gives me has never faded...
...all the way...'til the wheels fall off and burn...
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  • Clever PunClever Pun Posts: 6,778
    I was about 3-4 on a [email protected] hand me down with rubber tyres (no innertubes)

    as an adult I decided cycling would help fitness etc my first commute was a mare I took a wrong turning and ended up on a dual carriage way heading to Canary Wharf (not the intended canal path).. on the way home I also messed up and added an extra 15 miles to my commute... all without cycle shorts...

    the next day was painful but I still loved it
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  • Yes, I remember my first time: My parents bought me a second-hand bike when I was probably 5 or 6 (trikes up 'til then). My father then proceeded to hold the seat as I sat on it, free-wheeling down the back garden... until, on one run, he wasn't there. The combination of adrenaline and the novelty of actually being able to stay upright on two wheels was a heady cocktail.

    However, what has really kept me cycling on the road (as an adrenaline junkie, mountain biking is its own reward!) was the independence that it gave me some years later. Growing up in the country, being able to visit friends in neighbouring villages without needing to ask parents for lifts, meant that I spent most of my time, when not at school, on the bike... and I still love the feeling of being able to get somewhere under my own steam, without needing my car.

    _
  • gtvlussogtvlusso Posts: 5,112
    Punk kid on a BMX (Raliegh NIght Burner!). Loved BMX track riding and got into mountain biking, then commuting when I moved to Cambridge and London - Hola 20 years ago, such an old man now......
  • I had a little blue bike in the summer when I was 4, my dad told me I had 2 weeks of stabilisers then I was on my own. In my early teens I had dodgy knees, and hated cycling with a passion, all I did was swim.

    Went to boarding school in Cambridge, got an old MTB and used it as transport, then went to Oxford and got a shopper with big baskets for beer, and developed awesome balance!

    Started working in London, Liverpool Street station kept being evacuated after the bombings, so had to get the bus to Mayfair, and thought 'I could cycle faster than this'. Bought the old commuter that day.

    Then moved to Ealing, old commuter was just not fast enough!
  • BassjunkieukBassjunkieuk Posts: 4,232
    I have horrid memories from when I was young and had one of those "lovely" Raleigh folders (the one with a HINGE in the middle!) on the pre-tense that it would make it easier to take the bike to parks - we never really took them out that often!
    Then one Christmas me and my brother got one of those snazzy Apollo Chaos NEON orange MTB's that Halfords was knocking out for £100 which was my first bike that I wasn't ashamed to be seen on!

    Many more memories of days spent riding to build up fitness and many hours wasted riding round the block en-masse with the rest of the kids in the area! Oh such innocent care free times!

    Thinking back I've used my bike for commuting to work quite often, even if it was just a mile or so down the road! The commuting started in earnest tho once I started working in London and having had experience of driving in town and not being a big fan of public transport the bike was a logical choice!

    One other positive of being such an enthusiastic cyclist is that it's rubbing of on my kids! the 2 eldest (8 and 6) can ride sans stabilisers and I hope to get the next one down (4) riding properly this summer. The eldest has already commented it would be so much nicer if everyone cycled everywhere as it would reduce traffic and save the planet :-D. best part is I still have 2 (with 1 more planned) to teach and nothing beats the feeling of seeing them wobble up the drive for the first time :-D
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  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    I can't remember a first time, but I do know I learned to ride without stabilisers on the bit of Putney Heath just by Roehampton Church, on a small blue bike of unknown provenance which preceded my Grifter.
  • FeltupFeltup Posts: 1,340
    I remember my Dad running around the garden with me holding the saddle and then suddenly on a down hill run I was alone; I made it around the bottom corner and halfway up the uphill slope before losing momentum, wobbled and crashed. I was hooked!

    When I was 12 my mate and I decided to up the anti and went off on a 3 day expedition through the Cotswolds staying at youth hostels and cooking for ourselves. We got a right bollocking from the warden one night when he had had a call from my Mum asking him to tell us to phone home. We made it back on the third day to Bicester Station and caught the train home with no outside assistance. I am still amazed we were allowed to do it at that age but really glad we were.
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  • Rich158Rich158 Posts: 2,348
    Feltup wrote:
    I remember my Dad running around the garden with me holding the saddle and then suddenly on a down hill run I was alone; I made it around the bottom corner and halfway up the uphill slope before losing momentum, wobbled and crashed. I was hooked!

    When I was 12 my mate and I decided to up the anti and went off on a 3 day expedition through the Cotswolds staying at youth hostels and cooking for ourselves. We got a right bollocking from the warden one night when he had had a call from my Mum asking him to tell us to phone home. We made it back on the third day to Bicester Station and caught the train home with no outside assistance. I am still amazed we were allowed to do it at that age but really glad we were.

    :lol: I can remember the stabilisers not even being fitted to my first bike, and good push on a slight downslope, accompanied by 'don't worry you'll be fine' was all it took. Much TCP later I got back on again and managed to stay on.

    It brings back memories of doing the same with my youngest, running behind holding on to the saddle in the hope he'd get some sense of balance. It was a good half an hour before I realised the lazy censored was just sitting there enjoying being pushed up and down the road by Dad :lol::lol::lol::lol:
    pain is temporary, the glory of beating your mates to the top of the hill lasts forever.....................

    Revised FCN - 2
  • linsenlinsen Posts: 1,959
    I had a purple "Budgie" bike, my brother a red chopper.

    After that I had a Hercules folding bike (Goodness knows why, I never had to fold it for anything) and thereafter I had my brother's hand-me-down racers which were always far too big for me.

    Don't remember learning to ride but by the time I was around 11 or so it was my only mode of transport, and barring a lazy time after getting married and having children, it has been my preferred method of getting around ever since.

    I am glad to know that when the oil reserves finally run dry, I shall still be able to get to where I want to go (as long as I allow enough time)
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  • iain_jiain_j Posts: 1,941
    I can remember playing out on my bike in the street since time began, but i'm relatively new to "proper" biking.

    Got a heavy front-sus Halfords-esque bike for my birthday in my 2nd year at uni, and that was it. Hardly used the bus from then on, not even coming back from the student union after long days in the cheap bars (but that's for another thread :D )

    Then once the winter faded away and i had empty afternoons (homework and research? what?) i thought i'd ride to town along the river, which was nice. So after doing that once or twice i carried on up the river, past the docks, and eventually up to Southport, then got the train back.

    It went on from there. Did the Southport run a few times, discovered the "loop line" cycleway and did a few miles along there. Back at my parent's house during the summer, i found the trans-pennine trail and did my first long distance ride when i realised i'd missed a turn to do a short loop back home, and thought "sod it, let's see where i end up". Turned out at 60 miles, and that was that. I was away.

    That bike did more miles than it ever should have done, and higher speeds - 50mph down Holme Moss - and in 2003 it fell apart after a 3-day trip across north Wales. Coincidentally i'd just acquired some decent money, so I got serious and bought the Giant which apart from waiting me to put it back together following last summer's accident, is still going strong.

    Whew, that was nostalgic :lol:
  • joew4lljoew4ll Posts: 43
    I'm only 29 but I can't remember not cycling...maybe I hit my head once too often while learning?

    Any way, growing up in little village and being able to nip round to mates houses was great and then being fit enough to ride to parties and home was pretty handy. The tall hedges of Devon were very useful too 'cos when you got too tired you could just stop, lean against the hedge for a snooze and then carry on when you woke without getting out of the saddle.

    I remember going to the bike shop with my birthday money and a summers worth of wages when I was 11 to buy my own bike, a painted red racer on which I then won a cyclocross race on at school even though I got a puncture on the 2nd lap and everyone else was on mountain bikes... good times
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  • iain_jiain_j Posts: 1,941
    Rich158 wrote:
    ... slight downslope ... Much TCP later...

    You've just reminded me of that rite of passage for any young lad - the first crash :D

    In the park a couple of miles from my parents' house, there's a hill (it was long and steep in its day - Alpe d'Huez and all that) on a tarmac lane. At the bottom of the hill there's a gravel track leading off through the trees. Bombing down the hill I made a sudden decision to go down this track and tried to make a hard-left turn onto gravel at speed. It didn't work, and 15 years later i still have the scars on my knee and elbow to prove it :lol: Better than any cub scout badges!
  • woodgobwoodgob Posts: 96
    About 4-5 on a little red bike with solid rubber tyres and huuuuge stabilisers, learning to balance going down the drive into the garage.

    My first 'proper' bike was a Raleigh Tomahawk when I was 6 - little brother of the Chopper. It rocked. And it was red! My first crash was on that....the makeshift ramp I had set up with three bricks and a piece of plywood wasn't very stable and when I hit it, intending to do the biggest jump in history (thanks to Evel for inspiration), the ramp collapsed sending me over (um...or between) the bars. Landed on my hand with badly sprained wrist. No blood drawn tho. Getting all misty eyed.......
  • BassjunkieukBassjunkieuk Posts: 4,232
    I had some great crashes when I was younger, the best one involved me toppling over a low garden wall whilst racing some friends down the road!
    I managed to slide along the top of the wall (was about 2ft tall), turning my trousers into shorts and knocking the paving block off the end!
    I had a VERY dead leg and some lovely cuts on the inside of my knee :-(

    Another time I came down a local hill after saying to my mate you should be able to do it without hitting the brakes! When I got to the bottom I didn't realize that on the other side of the path, before it became the field, was a 1 1/2 ft near vertical drop! I went airbourne, clipped my mates brother and did a double flip in the air before landing hard on my back and winding myself :-)
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  • ChrisLSChrisLS Posts: 2,749
    ...bought a lovely 3 speed with my paper round money, first bike I ever had with gears.I rode that bike everywhere...there are times when I still think about it now...

    ...also had a lovely brand new Raleigh one Chrismas, I must have been about 10 years old. It was gold and metallic blue, I loved that bike. Sometimes it turned into a Spitfire if I remember correctly...happy days :D
    ...all the way...'til the wheels fall off and burn...
  • hisokahisoka Posts: 541
    I don't remember my first bike as a kid, but I know I stopped riding about 14 until the age of 27.
    My first adult bike I remember well. La Moo she was called. (well that is what i called the bike anyway).
    First ride was after pushing it up a big hill, mostly as I had to go to a shop at the top just after buying the bike. Top of this hill (not big now I know, but still steep enough) I look down the hill, it goes on about a mile of good steepness. I thought "sh*t that's going to kill me". Flying down it I just didn't care, and I was hooked.
    I go down that hill and up it at least twice a day nowdays, been on bigger hills but still get the thrill from it.
    You never forget your first time :lol:
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  • iain_jiain_j Posts: 1,941
    Actually my first crash was much earlier. Me and a mate decided it would be fun for one of us to ride down the street with eyes shut, the other one shouting "left" or "right" as appropriate to avoid crashing.

    I went first. I hadn't been going long when my mate started shouting "right... right! RIGHT!" more panicked and frantically. I kept steering further and further right and couldn't see (literally) what the fuss was. Until i came to a sudden stop, went over the bars and bit the kerb. Turned out he didn't know his left from his right :lol: It never occured to me to open my eyes and see what he was panicking about.

    I was left with half of one of my front teeth broken off, and the dentist told me he couldn't fix it until i was older when my teeth had stopped growing.
  • fonty1978fonty1978 Posts: 101
    gtvlusso wrote:
    Punk kid on a BMX (Raliegh NIght Burner!). Loved BMX track riding and got into mountain biking, then commuting when I moved to Cambridge and London - Hola 20 years ago, such an old man now......

    Cool bike gtv i had a Raleigh Burner in red and yellow. It was pretty cool i also had missile firing buttons on the front console to thwart the enemy [although in retrospect they were actually fixing bolts for the handlebars :oops: ]
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  • Rich158Rich158 Posts: 2,348
    The first crash of note I can remember is when me and some mates set up a ramp with a scaffolding plank and a couple of milk crated, and then had the usual long jump contest. This developed into a style contest, and I remember hitting the ramp at full tilt, and standing on my seat as I went over. The next thing I'd landed on the rear tyre, and proceeded to stop the bike by jamming my crown jewels between the rear wheel and the brake caliper :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

    It didn't do me any lasting damage as my kids will testify :D
    pain is temporary, the glory of beating your mates to the top of the hill lasts forever.....................

    Revised FCN - 2
  • tardingtontardington Posts: 1,379
    I had a little blue bike in the summer when I was 4, my dad told me I had 2 weeks of stabilisers then I was on my own. In my early teens I had dodgy knees, and hated cycling with a passion, all I did was swim.

    It wasn't a Raleigh Pippin was it?

    We had one when I was small! We used it as a sort of proto-bmx when we got bigger. It broke... :?
  • had loads of old 2nd bikes as a kid, none with gears and one at least with solid tires.

    first good bike was as a teen getting a MTB this thing had the gears so one could get up the steep sides of the gorge and brakes for going back down...
  • iain_jiain_j Posts: 1,941
    Rich158 wrote:
    The next thing I'd landed on the rear tyre, and proceeded to stop the bike by jamming my crown jewels between the rear wheel and the brake caliper :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

    :shock:

    Actually that thought's gone through my mind when you see the pro's in aero tuck with their back end over the back wheel, or mtb'ers doing the same going downhill.

    And i'm going to get those thoughts out my head. Right now.
  • DavidTQDavidTQ Posts: 943
    I remember being taught to ride a bike, no downhill sink or swim episodes though, it was on a level car park, my dad got me pedalling along whilst he held on to the seat for several dummy runs then did the letting go and pretending he was still holding thing... No crashes involved. The bike I learnt on was a 70's piece I inherited from one of my aunts (not too many years older than me), fixed wheel single speed and rubber tyres, yuck. Still a month or so later a brand new stinger aero BMX turned up for christmas, man I loved that bike... White with white mag wheels and white brake blocks, and black and white pads. I think I liked that bike more than my later raleigh burner in blue with yellow mag wheels (I had a thing about mag wheels)

    as for my first crash I dont know if it was my first but one of my most memorable from child hood was racing along a pavement coming to a right hand bend slamming on the front brakes and suddenly becoming air borne, flying over a fence and landing flat on my back in someones garden with the bike landing on top of me :lol: That put me off using the front brakes as my primary brakes until I was set right on these forums probably 20 years later :shock:
  • girv73girv73 Posts: 842
    My mum has home movie footage (on FILM!) of me on a little trike when I was about 2. I think she has it converted to DVD - I wonder if I can YouTube it for a giggle :lol: ?

    First proper bike was a Raleigh something, purple and shaped much like a Chopper but smaller. I remember riding up and down the street the first day I managed without stabilisers :)

    I had a Grifter for a while after that. Fell off it one day and smashed my arm in 3 places. It'll never be right.

    Didn't have a bike for a while then but I recall borrowing my brother's Burner to ride around the streets, going nowhere in particular.

    For commuting to university I bought a Raleigh Pursuit 10 speed (downtube shifters) second hand for £70 I think. I didn't get on with it and kept breaking wheels and tyres!

    Not long after that I got into mountain biking and bought a Diamondback Ascent in 1992. In 1995 I built a GT Zaskar hardtail, but kept the DB as well.

    The DB kept me going commuting through the late 90's, but in 2000 I got married and moved far away from work so that all stopped. I didn't do much cycling from then until just last summer, not long after my 35th.

    The DB gave up soon after that with a cracked seat tube, so I bought the Commencal Normal Disc as a replacement commuter bike, for a bargain £250 (half price). Then just a few weeks ago I got the BeOne Storm roadie.
    Today is a good day to ride
  • woodgobwoodgob Posts: 96
    girv73 wrote:
    First proper bike was a Raleigh something, purple and shaped much like a Chopper but smaller. I remember riding up and down the street the first day I managed without stabilisers :)

    I had a Grifter for a while after that. Fell off it one day and smashed my arm in 3 places. It'll never be right

    Wasn't a Raleigh Tomahawk was it?

    I had a Griffter too....after the Tomahawk. Got it for Christmas in 1980. It was silver and weighed an absolute ton! I remember two years later when my mates started to get BMX's and trying to bunny hop that tank. I think they were made from scaffolding poles.
  • girv73girv73 Posts: 842
    Yes! That's the one.

    0.jpg

    Though I distinctly remember mine as being more purple.

    I had the Grifter tank too (in red) when BMX was becoming popular. I didn't care, my bike had GEARS and was therefore superior.
    Today is a good day to ride
  • woodgobwoodgob Posts: 96
    girv73 wrote:
    Yes! That's the one.

    0.jpg

    Though I distinctly remember mine as being more purple.

    I had the Grifter tank too (in red) when BMX was becoming popular. I didn't care, my bike had GEARS and was therefore superior.

    That's way cool.....I've not seen one for years, LOL.

    I remember when the back tyre was knackered my Dad put what looked like a smaller version of the Grifter tyre on it (might have been from a Boxer) - super chunky! and the chain guard fell off so I kept getting by flares caught in the chain.
  • don_dondon_don Posts: 1,007
    girv73 wrote:
    Yes! That's the one.

    0.jpg

    Though I distinctly remember mine as being more purple.

    I had the Grifter tank too (in red) when BMX was becoming popular. I didn't care, my bike had GEARS and was therefore superior.

    I had one just like this but it was called a 'Chipper'. My mum wouldn't let me have a Chopper because she said they were "dangerous" :(

    Later on I upgraded to a Grifter, which I rode until the rear tyre wore out so much it exploded, causing me to fall off with fright :lol:

    I recall 'racing' through a junction in our estate when I was about 9 or 10 and being narrowly missed by a neighbour's car. I didn't think much of it at the time, but my mother told me (much) later that my neighbour went home and promptly threw up with the shock of nearly killing me.

    Those were the days.......
  • iain_jiain_j Posts: 1,941
    girv73 wrote:
    Yes! That's the one.

    0.jpg

    I had one of them! Or something very similar. It was awesome. The lightest tug on the handlebars and it would tip over backwards and sit with front wheel up in the air, the big rail thing behind the seat keeping it steady on the ground.

    Those were the days. Even after i got a "proper" bike i'd still get that one out of the shed cos it was such fun to ride. Then came the sad day when the rear tyre exploded. I came to no harm (i never did on that bike) but it was a "well, that's the end of that" moment. I think it's still sat in the shed at my mum and dad's house.
  • don_dondon_don Posts: 1,007
    iain_j wrote:
    I think it's still sat in the shed at my mum and dad's house.

    Photos!!!

    Never tried the 'total wheelie' thing :lol: My mum would have had a heart-attack!
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