Friday, 30 July 2021

Daisy, Daisy!

 Going to the Hairdressers yesterday morning a couple passed riding a tandem.   It is the first time I have seen a tandem for many years and it brought back such memories.   I rather think I might have shared this with you before in the distant past - but to indulge myself I shall tell you all about it again.   It was quite early in my first marriage (5 years), we were living in a bedsit.   This is not as bad as it sounds - we were very happy there and it was a very large house with large rooms which had all been converted into bedsits.   We got very friendly with our neighbours and really had a happy time.

One evening my husband came home from work and announced that he had 'bought us' a present and I was to come outside and see it.   Intrigued I went out and there it was - a Claude Butler Tandem.   I had barely ridden an ordinary bike (when I  did so a few years later I promptly wobbled across the road and fell off - the big thing you have to learn pretty quickly with a tandem is that if you are the rider on the back you have to pedal like mad but never under any circumstances try to steer) and he insisted that I got on it there and then and had a ride.

We cut our teeth on it over the Winter months riding round the flat lanes of Lincolnshire and by the time Easter was looming on the horizon we felt we could tackle something a bit lengthier.   At the time my sister and her family lived in Lowestoft  and we decided that after work on Thursday evening we would set off and when we felt like resting we would find a B and B for the night before going on on the Saturday.

That evening we got as far as Terrington St Clement where we stayed in a roadside pub for the night and then set off again through the lanes for the sea.   We stayed at my sisters on the Saturday night and then we set off back home on the Sunday morning.   There was a strong back wind blowing and we sailed along.   One thing I remember was that I had a lovely yellow cardigan which my niece coveted and she has a very short  pair of green shorts which I rather fancied - so we did a swap.  I got quite a few wolf whistles on the return journey - remember this was 1957 and really short shorts were not the everyday item they are today, and I have always had long legs!

We made good time on our return journey, stopping in a pretty village with a lovely War Memorial for a picnic lunch.   I wish I could remember the name of the village - I have looked on the road map but I can't find it (I shall no doubt remember it in the middle of the night).   We seemed to fly along - an AA man rode behind us for a while (in his motor bike and side car!) and then pulled alongside to tell us we were doing (I think I remember) 29 miles an hour.

When we got to Sleaford I had a bit of a hiccup insisting I could not possibly go another mile.   I sat on the side of the road and had a cry.   We were only seventeen miles from home and eventually my husband persuaded me to contine.   We arrived at my parents' house at around ten at night and of course my mother had a bed all ready for me to tumble into.   What a marathon journey.

We sold the tandem early the next year - why?   I was pregnant with my son by this time and we were short of money and in any case tandems and babies are not really good companions unless you are a cycling fanatic.   But our 1957 adventure has stuck in my mind ever since.

Just a one off adventure I have never forgotten.

31 comments:

Country Cottage said...

I thoroughly enjoy reading of your adventures. Viv

Rachel Phillips said...

It doesn't sound wildly happy to me. I would have thought you would need to have trained to be fit enough for this ride.

Sue said...

My bike is a Claude Butler.

CynthiaInOlympia said...

What a wonderful adventure! i do think of you every day and wish you well.

Derek Faulkner said...

I really enjoyed that Pat and so often, off the cuff adventures like that really make great memories.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I was in my twenties and did a lot of walking Rachel - I don't remember the bad things about it - like being so very tired but I do remember the good.

Sue - I did wonder if Claude Butler bikes were still available.

busybusybeejay said...

I really enjoyed reading that.What an adventure.

Heather said...

What a wonderful memory, and quite an adventure. I have only used an ordinary bicycle but used to ride it quite a lot in my teens. They certainly keep one fit - perhaps I should get an exercise bike!

JayCee said...

I expect it was a lot safer cycling on the roads back then. These days it is rather daunting with all the traffic on our roads.

Rachel Phillips said...

All I can see is you crying by the roadside and your husband insisting that you rode on.

Bonnie said...

That is a beautiful memory! How fun it must have been to set off on such an adventure. You two were really moving coming home at 29 miles an hour! Isn't it fun to look back on such memories!

Minigranny said...

What an amazing trip that was! Lovely to have good memories to look back on.

Virginia said...

What a lovely memory. The picture that sprung to mind was the two of you sailing along in bright sunshine like on the cover of one of those Batsford books that Penelope Keith used in that great programme about towns in Britain! Wrong era , but the mind has its quirks!

Today the two of you would choose electric bikes!

Have a happy day.

Catrina said...

What an awesome memory! You must have had so much fun! You were so fearless! You painted such a lovley picture!

The bike shed said...

I had tandems for many years - rode them all over Europe, raced them even. Good times and good friends - but hard work.
True story - in 1987 rode the length of the Pyrenees on a tandem with my first wife - now that was hard. We separated a year later - I like to think it had nothing to do with that ride!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Bike shed - your journey on a tandem makes our run to Lowestoft seem like very small fry.

Rachel - not so much insisting as cajoling - he was always good at that bless him.

Debby said...

My son in law and daughter in law are avid cyclists. He's very tall and long legged. She's very short. He bought her an electric bike to make it easier to keep up with him. She loves it! They think nothing of getting up and heading out for a day long cycle trip of 30 miles or more.

CharlotteP said...

We used to ride a tandem trike...that was great fun too. You had to lean hard into a corner, especially on the back, or it might turn over. If the mudguards had been taken off, it wasall too easy to burn my bottom on the back wheel, which caused much hilarity among our clubmates!

Susan said...

At 20 we take on adventures easily. Your long ride on the tandem was a proper journey including overnight stays. You must have been exhausted but you finished the ride home. Happy memories.

Linda from Alabama said...

What a lovely story. My husband is an avid cyclist and for me to be able to ride with him we have a tandem trike.
I love reading your blog!

jinxxxygirl said...

I have always advocated for biting off more than you can chew... It can lead to some wonderful adventures... Sounds like a beautiful memory Pat... Now i have the song.. 'Daisy... daisy give me your answer do ....' LOL Hugs! deb

Joanne Noragon said...

I might have cried much sooner.
Shorts were fairly bold for the fifties!

Anonymous said...

Great memory and lovely story. Pam.

thelma said...

Now all day the words of Daisy, Daisy will go through my head. A lovely memory of the two of you. I had to give up my sports car when I first became pregnant, could not fit behind the wheel.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Great to read about your adventure. My neighbours recently bought a tandem fitted out with child seats though I think their expeditions are a little closer to home. When I worked in the school we had a special tandem designed for use with the young people with learning difficulties - it had two wheels at the front and was steered by the person at the back (me). What reminded me of this was the title of your piece - yes, one of our most enthusiastic cyclists was a young lady called Daisy.

Frances said...

My parents were cyclists....(they met via a cycling club) and when I was a baby they had a tandem and I travelled with them in a little sidecar! When I started school Dad had a small extra seat on the crossbar of his bike that I was taken to school on. Health and safety?? He used to sing to me. "Run rabbit run" was one of the songs. Later on they had special pedals fitted to the back of the tandem and I pedalled along, with my little brother in a seat behind me.Mum on her own bike. Definitely no health and safety even then, as one day he managed to get his heel in the wheel and tore off a lump of flesh.We were out in the country and I remember my parents flagging down a car that was going back into the city ( Leicester) and Mum took my brother to hospital.

Ellen D. said...

What a great adventure! Sweet that you remember it so fondly!

gz said...

A lovely adventure..pity you didn't get a trailer for the tandem!

The Feminine Energy said...

What a fun FUN story!! I wish you could have had a picture to show, of you both on that tandem. Wonderful memories! ~Andrea xoxoxo

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