In those early days of the late 1950s in The Meadow, there was only one boy to earn even greater ridicule than the rider of the lop-sided buggy, and that was the lad who suddenly appeared, beaming, on a shiny new, pristine shop-bought contraption with cissy rubberised wheels.
He earned an instant, prolonged and well-deserved ostracisation!
At first re-cycled pram wheels were greeted with curiosity, then with a healthy scepticism. There might be advantages but their silence in motion was a huge drawback. Wasn’t the whole object of the exercise to draw attention to oneself and to cause maximum annoyance to our elders? Didn’t we insert cardboard pieces to the back wheels of bikes just to make as much noise as possible? Well, true, we were also turning them instantly into motor-bikes!
Well, true, we were also turning them instantly into motor-bikes!
Soon a host of other setbacks was detected. What was the point in whizzing silently past your peers only to wait jubilantly at the finishing line to crow your success? Once, yes, but you quickly detected the hostility of your peers and soon you were no longer a member of ‘the gang’. Even before that, you were a solitary participant in a group sport – a contradiction in terms.
And you were seen as cheating.
Certainly a few of your mates would, from time to time, cadge a ride for the thrill of travelling faster – with the accompanying danger of falling off at greater speed.
But once was enough. Soon the self-respecting gang member abandoned the new-fangled machine for the purist traditional carriage!
Anyway, all contests and competitions were centred on the use of the ball-bearing buggy!
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