Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Girl on a Bicycle


The girl on the bicycle in my picture is my mother, sometime in her late teens. Mum is 94 now and she can’t remember the brand or model of her cycle. My family are from Nottingham, where the world famous Raleigh Bicycles were originally made, so it would be nice to think that this was an example of the kind of product the company was turning out. To me it is indistinguishable from others of the era and I can’t read the badge.

Mum remembers that her bike gave her lots of freedom, she would use it for day-to-day getting around, such as cycling to the local tennis courts and on long Summer evenings she would cycle to Newark and back (about 38 miles); she was clearly very fit! She still speaks with pride about the fact that it had drop handlebars and wasn’t a 'sit-up-and-beg'.


This is my daughter somewhere around 1982, aged about six and demonstrating her first ride without stabilisers. We were stationed in RAF Germany at the time and her Dad had taken her out to practise on the quieter roads. Suddenly it clicked - and so did he - a milestone captured for ever.

The companion piece to this post features my Dad in ‘Boy on a Bicycle’.


Take a ride over to Sepia Saturday and see what other contributors made of the prompt above.


16 comments:

  1. Very nice photos of family bikers. I used to be fit and walk and bike everywhere. Sigh.

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  2. Grandmother & granddaughter, both on bikes. Fabulous!

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  3. Hello,

    Yes, we can well imagine the sense of freedom that having a bicycle would have given to your mother. Clearly she was an independent spirit and probably remains so to this day.

    Her bicycle certainly does look like a Raleigh......we had one each too. So many manufacturing companies in Britain have been lost over the years. Britain only seems to glue and stick together things these days rather than actually make them. A sad loss of a great industrial heritage.

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  4. That is a great shot of your mom. It is so nice to have photos for memories of our parents. I like the photo of your daughter learning how to ride. That was a great place to learn.

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  5. The photo of your daughter in that wonderful landscape is very striking. "Suddenly it clicked." is a great title for it. Never heard "sit up and beg" before but I'll get to try it out tomorrow when all the kids gather for Easter with their bikes.

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  6. I was insistent that my second bike should have drop handlebars too, but to honest I tought they were pretty uncomfortable. It wasn't as if I was in a race.

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  7. I love to look at pictures of my parents & grandparents when they were young men & women. They look so fresh & ready for anything. Except for the yellow plastic basket on front, the picture of your daughter on her bike, dressed as she is in the new 'old' style frock & long stockings, looks like it could have been taken in the late 1800s - well also except for the fact that it's in color. Maybe my imagination is just working overtime? :) But it's a really cute picture!

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  8. It's all part of growing up. That first bike. Great photos.

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  9. The phrase 'sit up and beg' referring to handlebars is a new one to me. But I agree with Brett - those racing style bikes are uncomfortable.
    Your Mum looks happy on her bike!

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  10. Drop handlebars - what a pro! You Mum must've been good. I expect Raleigh was competition for Malvern Star here.

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  11. Both photos define joy and freedom, but even the most ardent Sepian must admire the color hues of your daughter's photo. A real gem!

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  12. Your mom looks so happy in that photo. To travel 38 miles in one evening and spend time in Newark seems a great accomplishment to me. Hooray for her! I never used my bicycle for transportation, just for pleasure. I didn't enjoy riding bikes with the low handlebars, but had never heard of the others as "sit up and beg" handlebars, either. Funny. It's such fun to have the first photo of a new bicycler when she suddenly manages to balance.

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  13. The last time a dutchman won the Tour De France was with Team Raleigh, so it is still a famous brand over here. I was 9 at the time, I can remember it clearly, it was an amazing summer!

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  14. "Sit up and beg" - oh your mother! How funny. I can tell from her expression that she truly enjoyed that bicycle with all its freedom.

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  15. It just has to be a Raleigh in Nottingham. As for cycling to Newark, not safe nowadays on those roads but now we have plenty of off road cycle routes in Derbyshire and Notts. In fact I can cycle from my home in central Derby to Nottingham city centre without more than a few hundred yards on the roads near Long Eaton. Much of it using canal towpaths. See
    http://www.cycle-route.com/routes/Nottingham_to_Derby-Cycle-Route-31.html

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  16. The shot of your mom is wonderful. It makes me think of the shots of my mom on her bike on Midway Island. For a year on that tiny dot in the Pacific she rode her bike with me in the basket. The challenge was to ride around the gooney birds.

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