Bikes around St Albans
I received my first means of transport when about three in 1946. It was a maroon
red tricycle, obtained by my parents from a shop in Fleetville between Tucks garage
and Spendwise. Everything then was secondhand (or ‘pre-
The trike was a proper framed version with 18-
Even at the age of seven and eight I took solo trips on the trike, to watch any trains
at the Ashley Road bridge, to visit my grandmother at Camp, or later, when father
transferred to a job in Hatfield Road, to meet him at the end of his working day.
I accompanied father to the allotment at the end of the road and was able to bring
back vegetables in the basket. In the neighbouring streets I gave rides to other
children as they stood on the cross rail at the back and held on to my shoulders.
On my ninth birthday I received a bicycle -
lounge. Strangely, this room was locked for the rest of the evening with the excuse
that there had been a fall of soot which would be dealt with the following morning.
Now I really had to learn to ride. Father was not a fit man, although he did exercise
on the allotment and he walked everywhere, but he was short and smoked heavily. On
the appointed day of my first lesson with him on our quiet and unmade road there
would be a limit to his endurance, although I was completely unaware of it. He held
the saddle as I rode the black bike with 24-
who had also gained a smaller red bike with 22-
Now I was twelve I needed a big boy’s bike, but my pocket money would not stretch
to the big boy’s bike prices. As soon as I could I took on paper rounds at Stone’s
newsagents in Hatfield Road. The money was saved in an old toffee tin in a hideously
probably the first occasion in which I had done anything without relying on any help whatsoever.
As befits a thirteen-
I was now fifteen and was due to be transferred from Beaumont School to a new establishment,
Marshalswick, for the final year of my formal education (or so I thought at the time).
I suppose I took it for granted that I would still return home for lunch, as many
pupils did at the time, and as the distance was further than a stroll along Oakwood
Drive, I bought a new bike. Red again, but with 5-
Life on a bike exposes us to all that the weather -
kitchen was not used for bicycle repairs.
I kept my Hudson for some years, but cannot recall its passing. But around 1965 when my brother, Chris, obtained his first job at Boreham Wood, he purchased a little Vespa scooter to aid him to work; the journey otherwise would have been challenging. When he no longer required it for that purpose he sold it to me. By this time I was living in
Birmingham and so began my first experience with powered travel on two wheels. And three years later we shared our first four wheeled transport, a £199 Ford Anglia van, obtained from the garage on the corner of Marshalswick Lane and The Ridgeway.