Childhood Dreams

Since that cold wet Monday evening when I turned up with the broken down bicycle that we now call “Candy The Slapper” the Man has become quite enthusiastic about the project…

It started the evening I returned. He came into the bathroom where I was soaking the cold out of my bones with the hottest bath I could bear. He came in and sat by the bath

“I’ve been looking at the frame. She’s in surprisingly good nick for something so screamingly ‘80’s”

The Man reckoned that she had been involved in an accident as the crankwheel was pushed into the frame and the teeth dug in to the paintwork if you tried to turn the pedals. His theory was that she may have been stored at the back of the garage and one day someone parking the car might have failed to stop, crashing into the car and forcing the crankwheel into the frame…and then she was just left in the garage hence the fact there was very little rust or dirt other than the sticky greasy film that seemed to be all over her.

It was the Man who started referring to the bike as “she” and “her”…  as in

“She has a very pretty frame”

Candy the Slapper is of mixte construction having 2 parallel toptubes coming from the handlebar stem, going either side of the seat tube and joining the drop outs at the back.

Candy is the bike from the 1980’s I never had… my bike was a very sensible bike for going to and from school on…with a basket… and because I have very short legs I never grew out of the bike I got at the age of 10… I was still using it at the age of 18 despite the fact that by then it had seen many many better days…

The Man started telling me about the bike from his teenage years muttering reverently names like Sturmley Archer and Reynolds 531 frames…

It was a Raleigh… of course it was a Raleigh most kids in England ended up with Raleighs because back then there was still a belief that all the manufacturing was still done in England, Nottingham…

I had a Puch… but then we bought our bikes off my Uncle John who owned a bike shop… in Nottingham…

The Man is hooked and fired up about the project. Together we manage to find an old brochure on the internet showing the Raleigh Candice…it’s not quite the same model though but it gives us an idea for dates.

He also gets quite enthused over photographs of other bikes people have done…We end up having to put a budget on ourselves as it is quite possible to go quite gaga over accessories…and Candy was never meant to be a diva of a bike. She was meant to be a learning curve for bicycle repair and a bit of a beater bike for taking to places I didn’t have the courage to take the Ridgeback.

But things seem to be evolving quite fast… at some point we have to make a decision as to whether this is a repair or a restoration…


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