Emulating the scrambling we watched on TV, my friends and I built ‘dirt track’ bicycles from all sorts of bits and pieces, and spent many an evening charging about in the local spinney or racing along muddy river banks.
We’d build jumps and clear pathways to provide fast trackways, but there would always be some slower parts where balance was more important than speed.
To make things more ‘off-roadish’, we’d strip a bike to the bare frame and wheels, and fit the cut-off tread from a worn-out tyre inside our proper tyres before inserting the inner tubes in a bid to stop punctures from thorns and other sharp objects.
Preferring cable to rod operation, we’d normally fit only one brake – normally the rear for broadsliding – and with no mudguards we’d get seriously plastered in mud.
To prevent trouble at home we’d use the river to wash the bikes and ourselves cleanish, and all this pretend scrambling and trials (and even speedway if the grass was wet) inevitably led to motorcycles replacing the push bikes.
Read more in April’s issue of OBM