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Pétanque
Wee Smokie


France
220 Posts
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04 Aug 2018
Posted - 17 Oct 2013 :  7:35:14 PM Show ProfileSend Pétanque a Private Message Reply with Quote
Living in a country where travel by bike is second nature I started to think about the impact this simple machine has had on civilization for many generations. From the Penny farthing through to 1944 and soldiers landing on Sword beach with their bike on their shoulder through to everyday life and the impact on ordinary life. My early memories are drooling over a Raleigh Superb the way modern nerds drool over a Ferrari or Porsche. I remember Curry's the electrical store on the High Street sold bikes and I spent many hours admiring them, however the place I remember spending most of my time with my nose pressed against the window was Tom Clark's, I remember one window was devoted to fishing gear and tackle and the other was devoted to cycle components and accessories. Inside was a dream for a young boy stacked from floor to ceiling with interesting gear. Alongside the wooden counter was the stack of bikes in for repair with a clear view into the workshop behind with Mr Clark and his mechanics in their brown coats. I can smell the leather, oil and grease now. I guess this post belongs in Wilma's old shoppie's but it is probably not that old. How many of us at some point in there life has not enjoyed the exhilaration of traveling by bike?
BlastInAude
Wee Smokie


France
376 Posts
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Posted - 17 Oct 2013 :  10:13:13 PM Show Profile Visit BlastInAude's HomepageSend BlastInAude a Private Message Reply with Quote
There was a time Gary when I used to, while waiting for my mates to turn up at the Switchie of an evening, cycle round the Claypotts roundabout and back again - just for the hell of it. I must have been daft. It's not as if I was what anyone would call sporting. This was on my Dawes Clansman, drop handlebars, 5-speed, bought from Tom Clark's for about £17 odd - probably 19/6, everything was £n/19/6 back then. I think I mentioned elsewhere that this was 2 1/2 years paper money. This replaced an upright Raleigh (model forgotten) but with Sturmey Archer gears and a FULL chain guard, also bought from Tom Clarks. These were the things dreams were made of back then.

Remember when catalogues were such a fantastic thing to get. Bikes, Hornby Railways, Guitars . . . . . You would send off stamps to cover postage, and wait desperately for the envelope to drop thro' the door.

Tom Clark's also supplied .177 pellets for my Gat Pistol and .22s for my Dad's air rifle. How times have changed - for townies at least.
Pétanque
Wee Smokie


France
220 Posts
Last here:
04 Aug 2018
Posted - 18 Oct 2013 :  11:49:04 AM Show ProfileSend Pétanque a Private Message Reply with Quote
Hi Pete, I had forgotten about the catalogues you could send for, unfortunately the catalogue was usually as far as it got for me. You describe Tom Clark's and his wonderland beautifully, dreams were indeed made of this stuff. Youngsters nowadays seem less interested in mechanical stuff, that is not a criticism as I think if I had the access to todays technology things may have been different. However, back to my thread. If you look at many of the old photo's on this site the humble bike features regularly. As a means of transport it was the only alternative to walking for many and where I live still is. I think Cities and urban areas are gradually realising the benefits of the cycle commute and are making safer provision to do so. In Europe it is just taken for granted. We were in Zaragoza in Spain last month (not too far from you) A wonderful city and I was so impressed with how they managed cycling in such a busy place. I commuted by bike for the last three years of my working life, although only a four mile round trip, I never felt better. I have a feeling the humble bike will outlive a few generations still!
Marcol
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Posted - 18 Oct 2013 :  12:30:38 PM Show Profile Visit Marcol's HomepageSend Marcol a Private Message Reply with Quote
I remember getting my first bike from Tom Clark's shop, you went up the stairs to what had been a house and he had a room full of bikes. Yes, he had very interesting windows always had some new gadget.
Terrymac
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Terrymac

United Kingdom
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Posted - 18 Oct 2013 :  2:26:29 PM Show Profile Visit Terrymac's HomepageSend Terrymac a Private Message Reply with Quote
I visited San Pedro regularly about 10 years ago (on shore of Mar de Menor), it is sort of between Cartagena and Alicante.. My main method of local transport then was the bike.. The area is all dead flat and a good job too as it had no gears, just a fixed wheel, but it was great for visits, shopping, pub!!!!

Back in ARBROATH my first bike was a second hand refurbished light blue Raleigh with the "straight handlebars" and cable brakes.. My next one was my brothers "racer" that he left at home when he got married but it had thin racing wheels/tyres and it did not take long before I managed to put it out of action.. bust tyres repaired many times and eventually a buckled wheel that put paid to it... So the "message bike" became my means of transport, from about 14 years old, until I left Arbroath to serve my student electrical engineering apprenticeship down in Rosyth. My father cycled to and from work, Shankies at first but then went to Metalbox when it opened and eventually finishing of at Condor until retiring, using his bike all the time..

They are used more and more down here in Englandshire.. When out of the 30mph limit they are rode on the pavement or in a bike lane.. In town many wider pavements have a designated bike lane or a bike lane on the road..


Terrymac
I have only one voice but I still strive to make a difference.
Sandstone
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Canada
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Posted - 18 Oct 2013 :  6:36:55 PM Show ProfileSend Sandstone a Private Message Reply with Quote
My bikes came from Cobbs, just along from the traffic lights. Amazing isn't it that the town had just the one set and everyone know where they were!
Anyway my Raleigh came from there and I cycled two or three times a week to Carnoustie and to Brechin on weekends. Nobody would do that nowadays..

Back to Cobbs, the shop had an asbestos roof and I think they fixed motor bikes round the back. That's another almost forgotten shoppie.


Sandstone party See you on "TheShoppie"
Pétanque
Wee Smokie


France
220 Posts
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04 Aug 2018
Posted - 18 Oct 2013 :  6:59:26 PM Show ProfileSend Pétanque a Private Message Reply with Quote
A great example of the role the bike plays in everyday life in Europe. This bank of bikes extended for about 100 yards. The two 'Bike Friday's' in the foreground are ours, they fold down into a suitcase and have travelled with us on many tours. This is Bruges in front of a cafe where we were enjoying Leffe Blonde and Moules Frites. I will bore you with more bike photos over the winter, sorry!
exBraemar
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exBraemar

USA
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31 May 2019
Posted - 18 Oct 2013 :  7:10:22 PM Show Profile Visit exBraemar's HomepageSend exBraemar a Private Message Reply with Quote
My bike came from Cobb's too, Sandstone and if you bought from him he allowed you to park your bike around the back of his shop for free, so it was safe and under cover in all weathers, while you were in school.
BlastInAude
Wee Smokie


France
376 Posts
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2 days ago
Posted - 19 Oct 2013 :  09:49:39 AM Show Profile Visit BlastInAude's HomepageSend BlastInAude a Private Message Reply with Quote
One set of lights, and NO roundabouts. When my folks moved from Arbroath to join us in Bournemouth, I found my Dad was doing a 360° round a three-lane roundabout . . . . in the ”slow” lane, so he reasoned. He wondered why people were hooting at him. (30 years on, down here in rural France, about one in four drivers do just that, as a matter of training.)

Terrymac – a nice blue Raleigh. As Michael Palin said “Yoo wir looky” (best Yorkshire). I didn’t mention my first bike as it was not what dreams were made of. It was got from a 3rd Arbroath Scout jumble sale c.1953. Probably from the thirties, a real sit-up-and-beg with about 18” frame, rod operated brakes, no gears, and no saddle – all for ten bob. The whole thing, tatty chrome included, was then hand painted in black Valspar and a tatty old saddle was obtained. Huge thing with two coil springs (ex-police?). I sure I didn’t cut a very dashing figure. Sadly no one ever stole it from outside The Baths.

Third memory reviver – “fixed wheel”. Some oaf persuaded me that replacing my 5-speed with a fixed wheel was a great idea, except that a couple of days later I would cycle to my Aunties for a holiday (July 1960), in Rosyth (small world Terry). It was HORRENDOUS. Who was the oaf to have agreed?? I recall the desperate anticipation of reaching New Inn in Fife to get a drink, only to find that New Inn was no more than an AA box at a crossroads. I (and the bike) came back by car.

Back to France Gary. They are plain cycling daft down here. The Tour de France has passed my house twice, as well as many lesser events each year. My road (a main route even) gets closed, and hard cheese if I want my car out. By law, motorists must give a cyclist 1.5m clearance, and they are quite good (hereabouts) at doing so, so it is not at all unusual to see a long queue of huge artics following an octogenarian, pounding up the endless climb over the Montagne Noir, in full Lycra regalia of course.
Pétanque
Wee Smokie


France
220 Posts
Last here:
04 Aug 2018
Posted - 19 Oct 2013 :  10:22:43 AM Show ProfileSend Pétanque a Private Message Reply with Quote
My first bike was also a second hand purchase, bought from the uncle of one of my pals, I think for 15 bob. It was also light blue with drop handlebars and I thought it was the greatest thing ever at the time. I cherished it to the extent of carrying it on my shoulder up and down four flights of stairs every time I came and went from my home on the top floor of Guthrie Hill. It had one fault, a bent chain stay tube. This meant that it occasionally pulled the rear wheel out of line, I tried all sorts to fix it but never really resolved the problem. Tom Clark would have fixed it but I could not afford to put it in at the time.
flintstone
Master Smokie


flintstone

1695 Posts
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Posted - 06 Nov 2013 :  10:38:54 AM Show ProfileSend flintstone a Private Message Reply with Quote
Just noticed the thread - my/our first bike (it was a shared item amongst the family) was a big heavy wifies bike which I managed to wobble my way down Airlie crescent on when it was my turn. The trick was to pedal like the clappers from our door, which was on a slight slope, then freewheel down Airlie crescent and up into Strathmore avenue! then down the brae onto Grant Road. A shortcut down the pathie didn't require such skill. However, progress was sometimes hindered when one particular dog from a house at the other end of the crescent would run out and jump up at the inexperienced cyclist, causing veering aff the road onto the pavement and a nasty coup aff the bike. By the time I was allowed to cycle to school, my mount was an auld overhauled bike, painted black and white, new tyres, brakes, and a basket fae Tam Clark's to hold my school bag. This was when I started at the High, and I kept my bike at Cobbs, for the sum of a shilling a week. However, when my dad bought me a new bike, once I had proved to possess the necessary knowledge of road safety, it was purchased from Tam Clark's, HP at ten bob a week! A shiny dark green Raleigh. I took my new bike to the bike sheds at the High after that. As I said before on another thread, my dream bike was a Pink Witch from Curry's, but by 14, it didn't hold the same appeal.
Brian Dickson
Wee Smokie


Brian Dickson

USA
371 Posts
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07 Dec 2018
Posted - 13 Nov 2013 :  5:24:50 PM Show Profile Visit Brian Dickson's HomepageSend Brian Dickson a Private Message Reply with Quote
Gary, thanks for starting this thread, I'm fair smiling as I read through the thread, and believe it or not reading your description of the bike shop, smell memories came back to me.
I never had the pleasure of my own wheels, we were a two bike family and my mothers blue Raleigh was my weapon of choice, mostly because in the beginning as a wee bairn this was the only bike I could reach the pedals, it would still be many years before I could sit on the seat and pedal. Those early years the bike stood taller than myself and pedaling meant large exaggerated upped body movement and bike wobbling from side to side, I had no choice but move my wee body in rhythm with pedaling, my wee heid just barely peeping over the handle bars.
The ultimate challenge was picking up our fish suppers at Tony Carrinies (spelling) at Mayfield Terrace then pedaling home with the bundle cradled like a baby in one arm, as challenging as that sounded I still managed to rub a wee hole through the grease soaked paper wrapping to sneck a chip or two as my wee reward.
I never did graduate to dad's bike simply because that was his means of transport back and forth to Fraser's Foundry (4 trips each day), so dad's bike was off limits to us bairns.
Reading about Tom Clarks upstairs storeage had my grey matter working overtime trying to place where that was, because while courting I actually spent one night in the flat directly above Tom Clarks front door, my fiancee Fiona worked for the McGuggan brothers at the Flower Center and through them she was recruited to baby sit for Tom & Ruth Walker and (I'm sure reluctantly) the boyfriend was allowed to come along. Tom set the mood for the night before leaving when he told us not to worry if we heard noises throughout the evening as the flat was haunted by a friendly ghost. Can you imagine?
When the Walkers returned from their night out we four sat sipping wine and chatted for hours about ghosts and out of body experiences, which intrigued Tom to the point of reading everything he could find on how to reach that deeply relaxed state to allow the soul to float free. I remember being TOTALLY riveted listening to Toms every word as he described the techniques. But that's another subject for another day.

Gary, cycling to CLAYPOTTS round about just for something to do...........what the heck, that was a day trip for me. BTW my Great Grandfather was Dundee's City Engineer and he built and lived in the last house on the dual Carriageway right where the carriageway meets the Arbroath Road roundabout, his lovely white house is still there and on every visit home to the Auld Sod I point to the house to my American wife, last trip she beat me to the punch, the brat!

Pete, I'm amazed that you and I have seemingly bumped past each other many times over the years. I was a member of the 3rd Arbroath Scouts from Cubs right through to Venture Scouts (which FYI replaced the Rovers.) So I was there in the 3rd from 1958-9 through till 1968ish. I remember our jumble sales really well Pete, they very popular and our jumble folks would line up early to crash through the doors to snag all the best items, you must have been one of those early door crashers to snag that awesome hulk of a bike.
You also mentioned nobody stole your bike at the Baths, I'm sorry to hear that Pete. feeling beat up Well go figure; My brother Colin and I held season tickets to the bath's where we swam Monday through Friday at the 6:00 - 7:30 session, Saturday afternoons and early Sunday Mornings. I also trained Monday nights in the St Thomas Swimming Club then later in life Ron Marr's Sub Aqua Club which coincidently was free as was Ron's Long Row Weight Lifting Club. Colin and I literally lived at the Bath's. My memory fails me exactly what year the baths closed, all I remember was I was devastated as I had become VERY proficient on 'The Rings' and it sure got me a lot of attention with the girls, When the baths closed all I remember was I was enjoying the prime of my life, a swift swimmer, a show off diver and Tarzan swinger. Then they closed the baths.
Getting back to the bike, as a teen I hung around for a while with Ian Phillips, he riding on his dressed up flag waving super bike covered with extra lights and horns and myself zoomed around Arbroath behind him as quick as our legs would peddle, we took delight in screaming doon the High St passing cars an scaring shoppers who didn't hear our rapid approach. We were awesome at slamming on the rear brake and skidding our bikes sideways to a stop, it was the only way to stop in our show off eyes. There we were two boys in their prime, Ian on his manly steed and myself STILL RIDING MY MOTHERS RALEIGH. big grin


A New Years Resolution; something that goes in one year and out the other.
Pétanque
Wee Smokie


France
220 Posts
Last here:
04 Aug 2018
Posted - 15 Nov 2013 :  11:47:54 AM Show ProfileSend Pétanque a Private Message Reply with Quote
Hi Brian, as always your posts are a joy to read, 'smell memories' a great phrase, don't know if it an Americanism but it is a perfect description. Like you I don't recall the upstairs bike store at Tom Clark's but time effects the memory as we all know. You mentioned your brother Colin, I think we were at school together, another symptom of memory loss. I remember very few of my school friends which is sad and bloody annoying! One of the frustrating things about this site is not remembering, and thanks to people like you the spark is ignited in some post or other and it comes flooding back. Back to bikes, it was Pete who did the Claypotts run, way too tough for me. Weekend bike trips to Brechin were a regular and we used to camp on a wooded hill, it had a name but I can't remember, halfway between Friock and Brechin, we used to go to the nearby farm and buy egg's from the farmers wife for breakfast. I was cycling the hill above our village yesterday and a farmer was plowing the field roadside, the cool autumn day and smell of newly turned earth fair reminded me of Angus bike runs. Happy days.
flintstone
Master Smokie


flintstone

1695 Posts
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Posted - 15 Nov 2013 :  9:28:46 PM Show ProfileSend flintstone a Private Message Reply with Quote
When I started work in 1967, at Arbroath Infirmary, I used to cycle there every day from Airlie Crescent - nothing spectacular or unusual in that, I admit - but try biking wearing a pencil slim skirt, or even worse, a mini skirt! Then the backs of our nylon-covered legs got all splashed with the water off the tyres on rainy days. Some women had plastic covers over the rear wheel of their bikes to cut down on the splashes. On windy days, a headsquare was a must, and again, on rainy days, any decent girl would feel naked without her rainmate! You blokes didna ken you were living. The only hazard you faced was having to wear bicycle clips, or worse than that, tuck the legs of your breeks into the tops of your socks. All the insurance men and meter men from way back then always came into the house wearing bicycle clips! They usually wore those green overcoats with the belts too! The furthest that I ever biked was out to Friock and back one Sunday, and vividly recall stopping for a drink at the trough at the road end to Little Denmark farm. Nothing tasted quite like it. That little spring is still running, and I believe that the farmer had it tested to market as pure spring water, but I think the expense proved too great.
BlastInAude
Wee Smokie


France
376 Posts
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2 days ago
Posted - 16 Nov 2013 :  1:16:43 PM Show Profile Visit BlastInAude's HomepageSend BlastInAude a Private Message Reply with Quote
You’re right Gary, Brian’s post is full of “sparks” – a whole host of topics that get a vague mention from time to time, but probably warrant a thread in their own right. Has “The Baths” been done already, and “The Scouts”? And Ron Marr’s Long Row Youth Club was a very big part of my “education”. But you’re also right that the memory is a limiting factor. This one is getting more and more suspect, as it creeps daily towards its three-score and ten. I only put down things that I am reasonably confident of, but I would still be delighted to have people correct me.

However I DO remember the upstairs at Tom Clark’s – a silent almost reverend place packed with bikes, only accessed by invitation. My Dawes Clansman was selected from there. Thinking again about its predecessor, a Raleigh with chain guard and Sturmey-Archer that I mentioned earlier – it wasn’t!! It was a Hercules.

And Brian, all the similarities between us – it’s almost spooky. Flemings, guitar, biking, “mobile” homes (if you are prepared to count a caravan alongside your leviathan), and a couple of other extreme coincidences. Now The 3rds, the Baths, St Thomas Swimming Club, and Long Row INCLUDING the Sub-Aqua . . . . there will be more I’m sure.

However, there are some differences. I was always pleased to reach the fourth ring before falling in the water, and was not that great at the swimming – still aint. And we may not have overlapped in the Scouts, as my career ended suddenly at my second summer camp at Dinnet – probably 1957 or possibly 1958. Whilst on some cooking duty, I was kicked up the backside by the Deputy PL for some perceived infringement, ending hands down in the fire. I had to be fetched by my folks, with my hands substantially bandaged up. I never went back.

But back to the Bikes Gary. Biking is not dead chez moi, although the Clansman finally went to the tip when we moved here in 2005 . My eldest is “into” Raleigh Grifters – the transport of his youth – buying and selling on EBay. At the last count, he had reduced his collection in Bournemouth, to 13 of the beasties, but he also has two over here, for him and my grandson (and any other of our visitors) to use while on holiday. He also rescued a 70’s Raleigh Shopper from a skip, did it up complete with front basket, and brought it over for my wife. I rarely use a Grifter tho’ as they are affy heavy, and the huge gap between the three Sturmey-Archer gears is a bit hard to thole in these days of 21 minimum ratios, but he loves them. He also has a racer and a couple of Mountain bikes, together with a few kids “mini Grifters” that my G/S has grown out of. Needless to say, he doesn’t keep his car in the garage. He has now just acquired another Mountain Bike, which he will do up and wants me to bring back here, on our return from our Xmas visit to UK.

Here are his images of “Les Grifters”, posing in front of the Cathar fortress "Queribus", alongside the Canal Du Midi, and in front of our favourite lunchtime Chez Felix, in Carcassonne’s main square (see Rick Stein’s “French Odyssey”).

exBraemar
Senior Smokie


exBraemar

USA
640 Posts
Last here:
31 May 2019
Posted - 16 Nov 2013 :  4:03:31 PM Show Profile Visit exBraemar's HomepageSend exBraemar a Private Message Reply with Quote
I begged and begged for a Pink Witch bike when I was in the market as a young teen but my parents were unrelenting and I finished up buying a red and white Raleigh Palm Beach..."Now that's a GUID bike" and I used it for more years than I can recall. Later I had a Raleigh Shopper, Pete, which I wish I still had, I loved that little bike so much....good exercise too !!
Pensioner busybody
Wee Smokie


United Kingdom
204 Posts
Last here:
21 Jul 2018
Posted - 17 Nov 2013 :  1:53:24 PM Show ProfileSend Pensioner busybody a Private Message Reply with Quote
My first bike belonged to the Soshy chemists in the High Street and Fisheracre. It was a heavy thing with a normal girly basket on the front which was used for delivering prescriptions. When out delivering one winter night, some local lads though it would be great fun to have a go on it when I was at the customer's door. When I chased after them, they thew it down and one of the pedals sheared off and from then on, my deliveries were made by Shanks's pony. If any of you are contributors or readers, you know who you are!
My next bike was a second hand one which was painted up to try to make it look a bit respectable and was used for going from home to the High School. Cycling up Grant Road on a bike with no gears was blooming hard work. It would be many years before I had a bike with gears and when I eventually did, I whizzed around on that thinking I was Archie.
Tom Clark used to sell pieces of fishing tackle too and my husband (boyfriend at the time) used to go in there for his purchases. My close friend Helen Watson (now Mrs Jim Cargill) used to work in Tom Clark's, but neither of us could afford a bike from his shop. Come to think of it, I never did have a new bike, but didn't half enjoy the bikes I did have and all the bike rides we girls used to go on. Even the novelty of learning to drive couldn't compare with the novelty of the freedom that having my own bike gave me. Happy cycling.
Pétanque
Wee Smokie


France
220 Posts
Last here:
04 Aug 2018
Posted - 20 Nov 2013 :  10:35:29 AM Show ProfileSend Pétanque a Private Message Reply with Quote
Pete, Those Grifters look fantastic, maybe a young man's preference but they look like they are built like tanks. My trusty steed is built for comfort these days, I rarely do much more than 20-25 Km these days but comfort is essential for my old bones. Chez Felix is mentioned in most guides and is definately on my hit list.
This was taken this morning amongst the sleepy vines of Bordeaux, cold and frosty but the light at this time of year is wonderful.
BlastInAude
Wee Smokie


France
376 Posts
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2 days ago
Posted - 21 Nov 2013 :  11:15:09 PM Show Profile Visit BlastInAude's HomepageSend BlastInAude a Private Message Reply with Quote
I'm impressed by your 20-25kms Gary, I guess a week. That's three times more than I have done on a bike . . . . this year, and that was only to fetch a part for the car. Do give me a nod in advance, when you do get round to "hitting" the Bar Felix. And there's other places.
Pétanque
Wee Smokie


France
220 Posts
Last here:
04 Aug 2018
Posted - 22 Nov 2013 :  11:42:45 AM Show ProfileSend Pétanque a Private Message Reply with Quote
Pete, The area around our village is, in general mercifully flat so most days 10-12k is fairly normal and easy. Occasionally I will do more, Bergerac is about 12k from us so that is about my maximum with a round trip of around 25k. My bike runs always involve two things, firstly my camera and secondly the cafe stop which strangely seems to appear halfway through my run, so a 'demi' needs to be taken to ensure I manage the homeward trip!!!
BlastInAude
Wee Smokie


France
376 Posts
Last here:
2 days ago
Posted - 29 Nov 2018 :  09:09:56 AM Show Profile Visit BlastInAude's HomepageSend BlastInAude a Private Message Reply with Quote
Brian and Gary (mainly). Stumbled across this which we were posting about five years ago. Nothing to add, but interesting to revisit our biking days.
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