Full Circle

They say the olfactory sense has the strongest impulse on bringing back memories and feelings of nostalgia. If I happen to get the scent of a certain soap, I’m taken back to a childhood Christmas when I received the gift of soap on a rope in the shape of some boxing gloves. Just one whiff and I'm back as a 7 year old on Christmas Eve, sharing a bedroom with my brother, both excited as to what the morning would bring. Pillow cases on the end of the bed.

The auditory sense has a similar effect. Hearing a classic club hit from the 90's on the radio, I was immediately transported back to Visage nightclub, the noise and the lights. I could even smell the dry ice smoke machine.

But the visual sense is the reason that I'm writing this blog.

On social media I saw a picture of a Pace RC129 in black and gold. Some would say it's done as a tribute to John Player Special Formula 1 Team.


But to me it honours the Raleigh Burner BMX and, in particular, the Ultra Burner which came resplendent in black and gold and decked out in top of the range parts. Araya rims, Suntour stem with V-brace handlebars, Dia-Compe brakes and the classic Kashimax Aero saddle.

So on seeing this picture I was whisked back to my misspent youth.

Bikes have always been a big part of my life, right from when the stabilisers first came off my little blue bike.

I've owned a lot of classics. A Raleigh Strika complete with faux dual crown forks. The pre BMX Raleigh Grifter, complete with 3 hub gears. Two BMXs, one of which was an MRD from the legendary Tim March of which I recently found out there were only about 1500 made. Wish I'd kept that one instead of trading it in for my first mountain bike - a Scott Sawtooth which was more of a chunky road bike than an MTB.

I'd say my next bike was my first proper mountain bike, a Specialized Rockhopper with V-Brakes, Panaracer Fire XC tyres and resplendent with Pace forks. I replaced this with an 26" Orange P7, which was then replaced with my Cotic mk3 Soul.

Now I have both feet firmly in the Steel is real camp as I ride both a 26" wheeled Soul and a 27.5" Rocket. So apart from a minor blip when I rode the aluminium Rockhopper all my bikes have been steel frames.



So you could say that I really have had a life behind bars.

There was a real gang of us on our BMXs, several models of Burner including the Tuff Burner in blue with bright yellow Skyway mag wheels. We rode spoil heaps left behind by the housing estates from the building boom and through the school fields, where we were chased by the caretaker - like a scene from ET without the alien in the shopping basket.

Netherton Knights BMX Club and Big Valley BMX, our local bike shop selling all the top brands of the day. With bikes like Hutch, Diamond Back and Haro to name but a few. If we weren't at the track we were at the shop drooling over all the fancy bike bling of the day.

Because the shop was in the basement of a car repair garage, whenever I get that certain smell of oil and grease I’m taken back to those steep stairs that led to the Aladdin's Cave of BMX heaven.

Saturdays through the summer holidays were spent either just riding the track and it's various jumps and ramps, or racing with the Netherton Knights BMX Club.  I still have the trophies in the attic.

In fact I spent all my spare time at that track, even during the week. I'd get home from school get changed out of my uniform and be at the track as soon as I could. This came to an end when the track was finally flattened to make way for houses.

Now, Huddersfield must be one of the only towns in the country without a BMX track.

So a big thank you to Pace for bringing back some great memories.

Now where's my 80's mix tape.......?