CONKERS AND PUSH BIKES

Conkers, Dutch arrows, Camps in the wood and mooching for miles.

That was our entertainment as kids, we had no i pads or lap tops, we didnt have 100 + TV channels or you tube to keep us quiet,
Fucking social media, how social is that.

Our social media was a last minute shout across the school gate, "fight behind the church hall" or "meet you at the playing field around 5"

Roads were never as busy as they are now, It was only 30 odd years ago but it was possible to cross a main road then without running the gauntlet,
folk generally did not have drive ways full of cars and public transport was reliable, cheap and on time.

However to a 13 year old like me and my younger brother push bikes and go-carts were the number one mode of transport, We could never afford new bikes so a long walk to the old pickle (refuse recycling center) was a regular occurrence.

The pickle was an open dumping ground, often run by a fat old bloke from the council in a rotten shed, officially you couldn't remove anything but after some begging we were allowed to dig around the heaps of scrap iron and tot until we found what we wanted - old bikes ... No health and safety here

Armed with a multi head bike spanner and a couple of old rusty screw drivers we set about building a special.
Frame and forks from a folding bike, any wheels and tyres as long as they had some air in them, size was not an issue here because with our skills we made anything fit,
leather sprung seat from a 1930s ladies bike and forget brakes, these were way hard to work out, If you stuck your foot in between the frame and rear wheel it would cause enough friction to eventually stop the bike, ripped the shit out of your soles but it would stop.

With our steed built and tested we set off, It was a good few miles back home so having our new mode of transport was a bonus,
There are not many flat parts in the UK, un-like Holland where you can cycle for hours on smooth flat paths, where we lived in Kent it was especially hilly.

The leather seat was built for a generously sized ladies arse so it was big enough for two young herberts,
I was the pilot, In charge of the steering and my younger brother Dan was the engine , He was in charge of the rusty shin cutting pedals.

This new bitsa was a rocket, we must have got the gear ratio right on this baby, No multi gear systems here, just one big cog and one little, the harder you peddled the faster you went.

Dan was peddling like a mad man possessed, with no brakes and me trying to control this beast we tore off down the first long hill we came to.
Bloody hell this was quick, we should be home in no time at this rate

100 mph and we were still accelerating faster down the mountain, with no brakes and the main road at the bottom of this rather steep gradient approaching very quickly we decided to activate the shoe brake system.....FUCK... the floppy old trainers my brother was wearing did not have the desired effect we had hoped for and we carried on towards the main road.

By now the thought had occurred to both of us that the best action was to jump ship and hope for the best, impact with a bus or gravel rash, bit of a no brainer here.

Before we bailed to certain injury and a bollocking from mum the old folding bike frame decided it wanted to fold up on itself,
The handle bars were now creeping back and i was fighting to keep it straight
With a scream from the both of us we smashed into the curb and the beast catapulted us on to the grass verge,

Both of us were bruised and shaken but still alive, needless to say the bike was laid to rest where it stopped and we mooched back home to fight another day .