Good memories ( and not so good ) of cycling to School.

Discussion in 'General Cycling Discussions' started by johnnyb47, 17 Feb 2017.

  1. johnnyb47

    johnnyb47 Über Member

    Back in the early 80s school really was like a scene from Grange Hill..I used to hate School and whilst being locked in the classroom enduring the drone of the teacher my thoughts were a million miles away thinking about one thing. Cycling! I used to cycle 12 miles a day on the school run. I would bike home for my dinner as well. It was a kind of release at dinner time to escape to captivity of the classroom and hit the open roads and green country side and get some peace and quiet for an hour. Come rain or shine I point blank refused to catch the school bus for three years and insisted to my dear mum I was going on the bike to School.She didn't try to hard to discourage me from the bike because it saved her a few quid a week on school dinners and bus fares and I also knew she was struggling for money at the time so it was a mutual benefit all round. In the winter my bike would be armed with a bottle dynamo, an old Eveready battery light and my trusty huret milometer clicking merrily away on the front wheel axle. . The bike weighed a ton with all the bike extras as well as me and a huge racksack stuffed full of books. I never bothered with gloves ( no sense what so ever ) when I was a youngster. I would swap hands on the bars and warm one in my coat pockets to ease the cold chilled pains in my fingers. Every night the School double decker bus would overtake us halfway along our ride home. God kids can be disgusting when you think back. The bus would go past and it was garranteed a group of kids on the the top deck would spit out the window openings hoping it would land on you. It did a lot of times and we would come home covered in spit. I can remember hearing them laughing on the bus as there vile spit would make a landing on one of us. There was no bike racks at School so everyone used to keep there bikes just across the road at a house that the owner was kind enough to let us use. His garden was strewn with a least 20 bikes. He had no chance of cutting his lawn or hedges on school days because of the sea of bikes. As kids are there was always the sneaky sabotage of your bike. The favourite was letting somebody's tyres down. Thankfully the owner of the house would keep a keen eye open but for the ones he missed he always had a bike pump in his shed to get you on your way home. Summers were the best time to cycle to School. It was like a mini tour de France with us all racing down the country roads. Sometimes we would even beat the School bus home and avoid the disgusting shower. Every now and again whilst going back to school after dinner the temptation would be just to much , especially in the summer, and I would ride straight past the school and have a nice afternoon exploring the country side instead. When I would get home I would be met with a clip around the ear by my dearest mam god bless her :-) The school would call her wondering where I was and she would make up an excuse knowing dam well I was off on one of my mini adventures. As much as I hated schools they hold the fondest memories of childhood
    Last edited: 17 Feb 2017
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  2. freiston

    freiston Well-Known Member

    My school years were in the 70s. There must have been over 100 bikes in our bike shed. The school was (still is) in a market town with a large rural catchment area, so about half the kids came in on the 'village buses' and the other half from the town, mostly walking or cycling in. There were no town buses worth the effort.

    I do recall a road near the school that, when the wind was in the right direction, was a bit of a wind tunnel and I remember a load of us often sailing down the road no-handed, holding our coats (usually parka or snorkel coats) out to act as sails. I also recall being chuffed if I could manage to get home for dinner (aka 'lunch') all the way no-handed (the journey wasn't much more than a mile) - albeit not wind-assisted.

    Most of us had luggage racks with stays that fitted over the (solid) axle and clamped on to the seat stays at the other end. A spring-loaded 'flap' hinged at the rear held the bag against the frame/seatpost. Large adidas sports bags were often rested on the crossbar and handlebar, between the arms.

    A small group of us who hated regular sports managed to get permission to go for a bike ride on 'games afternoon' and we used to cycle to my cousin's house in the 'back of beyond' and have a drink and a cake before returning back to school.

    For a while, I used to have regular hospital appointments and had to apply for an exeat from the headmaster to allow me the time out for them. I always used to exaggerate the time required and use the extra time to take in a couple of villages instead of making my way straight back to school. One day I suffered quite a catastrophic puncture about five miles out and had to walk all the way back, making my return time about an hour late (which took me in to lunch break - so I went straight home and returned for the afternoon session).
  3. Flick of the Elbow

    Flick of the Elbow Wage Slave

    West Lothian
    Yes, remember them well !
    Most of my school cycling was on straight barred Sturmey Archer 3 speeds.
    I then 'progressed' to a dropped bar 10 speed derailleur effort, a lethal combination of steel rims and suicide levers.
  4. screenman

    screenman Legendary Member

    I was racing at 14 so the school run was often part of a training session, intervals behind the bus was a favourite.
    Jon George, Oldbloke, CarlP and 3 others like this.
  5. OP

    johnnyb47 Über Member

    We used to slip stream the tractors until the big hill ,were it would slowly pull away from us. Cookery lessons were always funny. I would make something remotely edible and proudly take it home for my mum to sample in my school bag. By the time we finished having a game of football with my bag and carrying it home precariously on my bike the burnt offerings inside the bag were completely pulverised into a right old mess
  6. Mrs M

    Mrs M Veteran

    That wee story brought a smile to my face :smile:
    I'd have loved to bike to school but the school didn't allow bikes :angry:
    Pat "5mph", CarlP and johnnyb47 like this.
  7. odav

    odav Guest

    I lived a three minute walk from my school, but would leave the house at 8:00 nearly every day to have a bike ride before getting there. My favourite was a little stretch of the Leeds Liverpool canal.
    Despite living closer to school than anybody else, I would always arrive late. Every year I had to go on stage at awards day to be presented with one of those cardboard clocks that were used to teach telling the time. This was to shame me for my time keeping record over the previous term.
  8. DaveReading

    DaveReading Veteran

    Particularly during the lesson on paragraphs. :smile:

    But they're overrated - nice story nevertheless.
    Tanis8472, Blue Hills, CarlP and 3 others like this.
  9. matiz

    matiz Über Member

    We used to get regular lectures off the headmaster for drafting the school bus on the way home, a regular trick in the metalwork lesson was to let the air out of a tyre tell the teacher you had a puncture and he would let you spend the whole lesson pretending to fix it , you could clean and fettle the bike in school time.
    There were a few of us in various local cycling clubs and the games master helped us form a cyclo cross league with several other schools in the area, every week instead of football or the dreaded cross country run a group of us would head off unsupervised to different schools for a afternoon of racing in school time.
    hondated, Trekster, Sixmile and 8 others like this.
  10. ianrauk

    ianrauk Tattooed Beat Messiah

    Barmy in Barming
    I used to ride the 2 miles to school on my Yellow Chopper, that was then swapped over to a Bluey Grey Grifer. Loads of kids used to cycle to school back
    In the 70's, hundreds even. All the bikes were dumped on top of each other in the bike shed. No one had a lock but none were ever stolen. No one carried any form of puncture repair kit either. But then again I don't remember ever having a puncture.
    Last edited: 17 Feb 2017
  11. CarlP

    CarlP Guru

    I don't have any romantic memories of cycling to school, it was a chore and a bore that had to endured.

    I went to two secondary schools in my teens one in London, where I wasn't allowed to keep my bike on the school premises unless I had passed my cycling proficiency test ( I had but couldn't prove it) so I had to lock my bike up outside, it was safer there anyway, the one time I did take it ( my brand new Kingpin) some twunt thought it was funny to lower the seat.

    After school I used to cycle from East Acton to Paddington to do my butchers round, after that cycle home to Willesden, in all weathers. I had one of those yellow capes for when it rained.

    Later when school became intolerable for me I used to bunk off and cycle round Hyde Park or go to sleep under a tree in the summer until it was time to go to the shop.

    We then moved to Chertsey, things weren't much better then, still cycled to school or bunk off which ever mood took me ( I really loathed school) , I had morning paper round, and an evening paper stand to attend to. All on the Kingpin.

    My mothers' sisters' husband decided to build me a bike out of an old frame he'd been given, a lovely British racing green road bike with five gears, and I used that for ages, but my riding was almost all utility riding, it was ACE, I never seemed to have time for adventures though, I did ride it about but not often. I later found out (about two years ago) that the frame was a Gillott. I stupidly sold that bike for a fiver when I was 18 when I bought my first motorcycle.

    I did a lot of cycling, but it was mostly out of necessity than anything else.

    One thing I've just remembered, that was fun, I did my first "sportive" (they weren't called sportives then) one Sunday , I was about 14, a 50 mile charity bike ride for MIND ( I think) I did that on the Kingpin, jeans, trainers, no helmets back then. I raised £7.50, quite a lot of cash then, my Saturday job wages was £1.50. I remember that being great fun, the headmaster spoke about it at the school assembly one morning, a couple of other kids did it too.

    Edit: the charity was Action For the Crippled Child , not a very PC name
    Last edited: 17 Feb 2017
  12. Flick of the Elbow

    Flick of the Elbow Wage Slave

    West Lothian
    I didn't get properly into cycling until sixth form. Wednesday afternoon was supposed to be for sports. A couple of keen cycling teachers gave us the option of bunking off for the afternoon instead, by way of taking us on a bike ride every week. So I guess it was sports of a sort but it didn't feel like it. We used to cycle a few miles, find a corner shop, the teachers used to buy us chocolate bars and fizzy drinks, then we'd head back. Earlswood Lakes was a favourite destination. The entrance to the sixth form college was at the top of a small hill, this became a keenly fought sprint at the end of every ride. But it still didn't feel like sports :smile:
    hondated, Trekster, colly and 9 others like this.
  13. Crackle

    Crackle Pah

    I also cycled to school in the 70's. Initially it wasn't very far and then we moved so it turned into a nice commute. The commute to school co-incided with the discovery of cycling for transport , exploration and pleasure and the subsequent increase in my fitness led the x-country teacher to question whether I'd done all the laps in the race as I came home 10th instead of 80th.

    I recall a few run in's with the lollipop man on the way as I once sleepily cycled through his crossing. After that he kept an eye out for me and I used to try and stay out of sight behind buses until his attention was taken and then sprint past. I remember also a good few of my mates watching on as a Hooray Henry in a Lotus nearly cleaned me out at the nearby junction on his way to the golf club. There was a loud chorus of ooo's from across the road.

    One time I turned up to games and was about to get changed when the games teacher handed me an envelope and said, you've got a bike haven't you, take this to so and so school for me. A 10 mile round journey down some busy roads through Tuebrook.

    Unfortunately I also lost things out of pockets, mostly my specs, I was up to three pairs crushed under wheels by the time I left school, though luckily the cases of the time saved two of them, well kind of, they looked a bit wonky but then again, so did I.
  14. Salad Dodger

    Salad Dodger Veteran

    Kent Coast
    My senior school had a bike shed big enough to accommodate the whole field of the Tour de France, but hardly anybody cycled.

    I didn't cycle, but was allowed to park my moped, and later my beloved 200cc Yamaha, in the bike shed.............

    We had about an hour and twenty minutes for lunch, and the school was only a couple of miles from the edge of town, so on a nice day I would leg it from my last morning lesson, back to the common room to grab my helmet and leather jacket, then go for a ride for about an hour in the countryside before returning for the afternoon. Unless it was Wednesday, which was games afternoon. On Wednesday I would get registered for the afternoon then me and a schoolmate who also had a motorbike would ride over to the local sports centre to play the world's quickest and most perfunctory game of squash (in case the teachers checked up that we had attended), and then we would hotfoot it out to Brands Hatch which was only about 8 miles away, to catch the last couple of hours of the general practice afternoon. Cars in the morning, bikes in the afternoon, free admittance and pot luck as to what sort of bikes would be "testing". Often it was the works Kawasaki team (as the bikes were built by Boyers of Bromley) and sometimes Texaco Heron Suzuki as they were based in (I think) West London. Happy days!
    hondated, colly, Jon George and 2 others like this.
  15. MontyVeda

    MontyVeda a short-tempered ill-controlled small-minded troll

    Apart from the days doing my cycling proficiency test at junior school, we weren't allowed to cycle to school.

    I did cycle to high school once... got told off by the deputy head.

    The high school has since closed down and the deputy head is probably dead.
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