The author takes us through the highs and lows of his teens and twenties as he finds his way in the world along with a group of “mates” we will all identify with. We travel with Richard from the age of 16 through to 26, sharing in all the many “firsts” he encounters.
"It’s a must read for anyone who grew up during that era". Congleton Chronicle.
Now including photographs!
.........As we left I decided to show off and reveal my new party piece. Jed had shown me how to do wheelies! Now to get a 49cc moped on its back wheel involves good balance, careful weight distribution and not a little skill. The first two I had in moderation, the last, little or none. This however was not going to stop me from ‘impressing’ the girls. Positioning myself at one end of the car park I went through the customary checks.
Engine revving to make a noise?
Lots of girls coming out?
More revs, loads of people looking?
With a final rev of the engine bringing the crescendo of rattles to a new pitch, I lurched forward. My weight was as far back on the seat as was possible without sitting on the back lights. Legs dragging behind, I heaved back on the handle bars and oh yes!!!! Up she came. At ten miles an hour I cruised across the car park balanced on the back wheel. The sense of pleasure and achievement was mind blowing; I would be a hero; girls would want to talk to me; I would be a 'ped god!
At what point it all started to go wrong I am not sure. I was aware of everyone turning to watch my ‘stunt’. Perhaps it was because I was looking to see who was watching me rather than concentrating on what I was doing that did it. I became aware of starting a slow turn to the left. This I had not foreseen. Unsure what to do, I did nothing and continued in the slow arc across the car park. Realising that this trajectory was taking me towards parked cars I decided more power would pull me straight again. In theory this may have been a good idea, in practice with the eyes of everyone who was spilling out of the Youth Centre on me, it was not.
As I opened the throttle the Casal speeded up considerably and suddenly I got the feeling that I was now merely a passenger. You know when you are about to have an accident, the world goes into slow motion. I suddenly slid off the seat backwards and found myself hanging from the handle bars, being dragged up the car park by the still near vertical 'ped. This was not good. After what seemed like an age the Casal, tired of dragging me and my ridiculous coat up the car park, decided to buck me off. The bike seemed to buckle under me and the next thing I knew I was flying over it in a sort of frozen leap-frog stance. The tarmac was no harder than the piss taking I received in the immediate aftermath. The 'ped suffered a bent foot pedal and a broken clutch lever. I suffered a skinned knee and a crushed ego! I was gutted. Hero to zero in five short seconds. As my mates picked me up I looked across to where only moments before had been what I imagined was my admiring crowd. Now there were just giggling girls, lads pissing themselves laughing at me, and one or two making rude hand gestures. Do you think it put me off trying to show off?……..