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Can You Remember Your Favourite Christmas?

Mountain Bikes - Bicycles In Snow

What was the best ever Christmas you have had? I mean your best either for Christmas gifts, memories with friends and family or even a good after work party. What was your best ever? Mine was when I was about 10 or 11, I and my brother got up Christmas morning to find both of us got cycles. Now believe me it was magical, as you may know the early 80’s was a bleak time in Ireland, unemployment was very high and there wasn’t enough cash to go around. In this context, a brand new cycle for a 10 year old certainly was a surprise!

I remember it perfectly it was the first mountain bike on scene at the time, a Raleigh Bomber, a gleaming black one, while my brother got a blue Raleigh Griftter. Has you can imagine it took us no time to get washed and dressed in our new clothes and out the door! I remember proudly cycling around the roads, then knocking into friends to see what they got, while they were looking to see what we got. My bike was nick named “the Post Man’s bike” because of its colour and height. Only one other chap I know got one that year, they were so rare that they were so new no one knew anything about them.

Of course the mountain bike became the best selling bike after that but it was great to be one of the first! Up any hills, down any trails, I travelled all over the place as proud as you like. Over time, its huge handle bars would become a passenger’s seat for friends as I flew around the place. In fact, it was so highly sought after as not everyone had a bike back then, and those who were lucky enough to have a bike used to give carry’s and I did too, it just meant all the gang could all go to where ever we went.

One of our favourite haunts was a place called the 12th Lough which is just inside Lucan. It was a rally course for bikes it would probably take you at least half hour to cycle up to the spot, using what was locally named road called “Lynches’ Lane” or St Marys Lane to give it its proper title. Once you hit the old country lanes you were on the canal roads and they were very rough, tough if you were the passenger! One would peddle, while the other would steer it was a partnership if you like. Once we got up on to the dirt road that ran up the canal it was another ten minutes or so to the rally field then you sped down hills like you were possessed!

It was great but there was one track I refused to do, it was very deep and very high, I used to watch from the side lines, as lot of people after saying their prayers flew down the hill, half them didn’t actually hit the ground going down! We would normally stay up there for an hour or two then we would all cycle home. There used to be a shop called “The Back shop” that was on the way up so who ever had money we buy and spilt everything so we would all have something to drink, or eat or smoke when times were good we had all three.

That Christmas, when that bike arrived it brought me years of summers and pleasures as you can tell… that was the best Christmas and it has stayed with me till even now as a grown man. Fortunately for me, like all Christmases my parents always made sure we had what we need, happy times.

What was your favourite Christmas? Let FRG know & we will print it.

IMAGE: Mountain Bikes in Snow – image credit: Dr. Marcus Gossler/Wikipedia

Fountain News DigitalThis article was originally published in:
Fountain News Digital – December 2011 (Issue 7)

We are re-publishing all articles from our past newsletter, Fountain News Digital, and you can view all completed newsletters here. There were nine issues published in total between 2010 and 2012.

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