65 years of velocipedling – Willy Bailey

by | Apr 30, 2021 | Activities, Featured Articles, Keepsake

I started riding bikes when I lived in the country to get to the local shop, post office and to visit friends in the village. I didn’t know much about bikes and was always confused with tyre sizes puzzling over 26 x 1 ⅜, 27 x1 ¼… in the end I often tied the wrong tyres on the wheels with string! This was in the days when if you got a puncture you used to stuff lots of long grass into the tube to make it home! 

My first accident was when I followed a traction engine in the sixties that was visiting a local farm,  this was quite an exciting event for a young boy as we didn’t often see these monsters that belched fire, steam, and smoke. My steering tube was a bit loose and my handlebars kept moving from side to side. To counteract this I used to tug swiftly on them to straighten up! However, when I was whizzing down the hill I tried to straighten them but instead of returning centrally the front wheel just moved sideways with them. Suddenly they folded up under the bike and I flew over the handlebars and crashed headlong into the hard metal road! I limped home bloodied and sore with much consternation and fussing from my parents. 


This didn’t deter me though, I‘ve ridden bikes ever since, and when I moved to Norwich to make violins I also had a bike business. It brought me into contact with lots of amazing bikes from yesteryear. I particularly like the 28” loop frame ladies bikes as they ride very smoothly with such large tyres. Now in the autumn of my life, I have an electric bike that means I can resume my crepuscular perambulations with ease and pleasure to visit the allotment and friends in and around the city.

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